The surname Delaney, and its variations, are the Anglicisation of two different surnames, the Gaelic Ó Dubhshláine, and De l'aunaie of Norman origins. The Norman name means “from the alder grove”, and the Gaelic comes from the words “dubh”, meaning black, and “slán”, meaning defiant. The surname is strongly associated with counties Laois and Kilkenny in the eastern province of Leinster.
According to the Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4 Delaney has a number of meanings:
English (of Norman origin): habitational name for someone from any of various minor places in northern France named from Old French aunaie ‘alder grove’. Irish: Anglicized form, influenced by the Norman name, of Gaelic Ó Dubhshláine ‘descendant of Dubhshláine’, a personal name composed of the elements dubh ‘black’ + slán ‘challenge’, ‘defiance’. MacLysaght, however, suggests that this element may be from the Sláinge river."
It appears to be widely believed that the Normal origin is incorrect and that the name originates from Ireland. The name Dubslaine is recorded in "The Annals of the Four Masters", for year 878; the name was also recorded in the "Anglo Saxon Chronicles" for the year 891.
You can find out about some famous Delaney's on Wikipedia's Delaney page.
Useful research sites
- Distantcousin.com's Delaney page: Lots of scanned documents from the US including the US Census, death records, military service records and passenger lists