Photo by Angela Nelson Purkiss.
One of the original spellings of the Donovan surname was Dhonnabháin (dhonn, meaning dark brown or noble). The Dhonnabháin coat of arms was granted or registered at various times to various individuals and septs over the centuries.
Armorial bearings, although distinct in each case, do share similar elements. The mottos associated with the various arms include Adjuvante Deo in hostes (Latin for With the assistance of God against our enemies), Vir Super Hostem (Latin for A man above his enemies), Giolla ar a-namhuid a-bu (Gaelic for A man over his enemies forever [we are getting stronger!]), In Deo faciemus Virtutem (Latin for With God I shall be valiant and virtuous […and now more spiritual!]), Croom a boo (also, Croom abu [and political]) (Old Irish for Croom: To victory), and finally, Imagines majorum as virtutem accendunt (Latin for The images of our ancestor’s lives inspire us to ever-increasing valiancy and virtue).
In the early 1840s, four Donovan brothers and their two sisters came from County Cork, Ireland.
They settled in the Garryowen area of Jackson County in Northeast Iowa.
They were Cornelius, Jeremiah, Richard, Dennis, Mrs. Henry Mahoney, and Mrs. Jack Culligan.
Richard Donovan was our ancestor.
This is our story.
“May love and laughter
light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!”