Laney Family History
The Laneys originated in Ireland. According to tradition (recorded in Funderburk's Laney Lineage
and Legacy
), the founders of the Laney clan were of the family of Cormac Cas who was the
grandson of the celebrated "Conn of the Hundred Battles."  Conn was continuously at war, thereby
gaining his illustrious title.  Most of his notable battles were fought against his worthy opponent, the
chieftain Mogh Nuadat of Munster.

Our Laney lineage comes through Conn's daughter, Sabia, whom he gave in marriage to Oilill Olum,
the only son of his long time foe, Mogh Nuadat.  When he was slain in battle by one of Conn's allies
(3rd century A.D.), Oilill Olum became king of Munster.  He decreed in his will that the crown of
Munster would alternate between his oldest sons--Eogan Mor and Cormac Cas.  The noble
chieftain Dubslaine was a descendant of Cormac Cas through the O'Briens or perhaps another
line.  Dubslaine (c. A.D. 900) became the chief progenitor of the O'Dubslaine clan, out of which
came the Laneys.

The name Laney in its original Gaelic form was O'Dubhshlaine and first appears in recorded history
around A.D. 950.  The O' means "grandson of" or later, "descendant of."  Dubh means "black."  
Shlaine is a territorial name referring to the district from which the river Slaney takes its name--a
section of Slieve Bloom mountains in the Country of Laois in southeast Ireland.  Dubhshlaine is best
translated, "the dark-haired ones of Slaney."

Chief Dubhshlaine, whose ancestral home was at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountain (1,733 ft.),
is the patriarch of all the families whose names are Laney, DeLaney, and DuLaney, with numerous
variations in the spellings of each.  According to some genealogists in Ireland, the Laney name was
once spelled "Leighneigh."  It is in the district of the Slieve Bloom Mountain and the section east of it
in KilKenney County where the greatest number of DeLaneys are found today.  
Our branch of the Laney clan can be traced back to a John Leaney who lived in Ireland during the
1700's.  He married Ann Fisher, born in 1762 of Scotch royalty though the Marquess Henry de
Grey. Henry de Grey was the father of Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England for nine days.  She
was beheaded in the Tower of London in 1554.

John and Ann had four children--Jane Grey, Nancy de Grey, Mary Gaverny and John.  All four
were born in Tyrone County in northern Ireland.  The youngest, John, was born April 1, 1790 and
died february 10, 1871.  Ann was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church for 66 years and
was associated with John Wesley.  She was appointed a class leader by Wesley, founder of
Methodism, and sometimes held an umbrella over him during his outdoor preaching.  We don't
know what became of the senior Leaney and the three daughters, but Ann Fisher Leaney
emigrated to the United States with her son John in 1802.  Ann died in 1846 and is buried in
eastern Pennsylvania.  

John Leaney, son of Ann Fisher Leaney, simplified the spelling of his name changing it to
Laney.  On September 3, 1812, he married a Methodist, Catherine Housel, born December 26,
1786 in New Jersey.  John and Catherine had ten children: William Housel, Ann Eliza, George
W., Lydia Housel, Jane Grey, David Housel, John H., Catherine Salter, Joseph and Thomas
Murray.  Catherine died after 47 years of marriage on February 6, 1858. She is buried in
Washingtonville, Montour County, Pennsylvania.  John died 13 years later on February 10, 1871
at the age of 81 and was buried in Savannah, Andrew County, Missouri.  He is said to have
passed to his reward gloriously happy, exclaiming "victory!"

The two youngest sons of John and Catherine were twins who served on opposite sides in the
Civil War.  Joseph, a dentist, was a Confederate soldier and Thomas, a physician, fought for the
Union.  They reportedly never spoke to each other after the war.  During the war, Major Thomas
Laney served as medic and was with General Grant at his final surrender. Like his mother,
Thomas was a deeply religious man.  The history of Andrew Country, Missouri recounts the story
of Dr.Laney praying for a man on the scaffold as he was about to be hung for murder!

The Methodist upbringing of the children of John and Catherine is evidenced in the lives of their
descendants.  Their son, William Housel, an M.D., served as a lay pastor in the Methodist church
for 57 years.  He read his Bible daily in Hebrew and Greek.  William Newton Laney Sayers, son
of Lydia Housel Laney, was a Methodist minister in Louisiana.

The key descendant in tracing our branch of the Laney family is
David Housel Laney,
born to John and Catherine on December 15, 1821 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

The Laney family members featured on this web site include the following:
The Laney Coat of Arms
Laney Family Letters

I have enjoyed reading some old family letters that tell a lot about
my great-grandfather's family during the late 1800s. Please follow
the links below to read some of these Laney family letters.
Uncle Arnon was a name that was frequently on
the lips of my grandfather, John Carl Laney.
Arnon was a recognized and much loved leader of
the family. I have recently discovered and
transcribed some letters written to Arnon from his
brother John W. Laney during the years of 1886
to 1888. Arnon was in Miles City, Montana
beginning a sheep ranching business and John
was in Rosendale, Missouri farming with his
father, David H. Laney and trying to figure out
what to do next. I think you will enjoy these letters
written by my great grandfather to his much loved
brother, Arnon. Click on the link below.
More Arnon letters! Here is a link to letters were written to Arnon Laney from his
brother-in-law, Ben Myers, who had married Arnon’s sister Clara. Ben and Clara
spring of 1883 and address the issue of Arnon’s possible move to Montana to
begin sheep ranching.
These letters were written to Arnon from his sister Clara who was living with her
husband Ben Myers on a cattle ranch on the Shields River near Livingston,
Montana. The letters date from 1883 to 1887 and provide insights into life in the
late 1800's and the Laney family relations.