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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Where did the Irish Arnell family come from? What is the Irish Arnell family crest and coat of arms? When did the Arnell family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Arnell family history?

Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name Arnell is Ó Néill, which means descendant of Niall, a personal name of Irish origin, thought to mean "champion."

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People who were accounted for by scribes and church officials often had their name recorded many different ways because pronunciation was the only guide those scribes and church officials had to go by. This resulted in the problem of one person's name being recorded under several different variations, creating the illusion of more than one person. Among the many spelling variations of the surname Arnell that are preserved in archival documents are O'Neill, Neal, Neale, Neales, Neil, Nihill, Niell, O'Nail, O'Neil, O'Niel and many more.

First found in County Tyrone (Irish: Tír Eoghain), the ancient territory of the O'Neills, now in the Province of Ulster, central Northern Ireland, and County Clare where O'Neill was chief of Clan Dalvy and of Tradree, a district in the barony of Inchiquinn. In the 10th century, a branch of this family went to Limerick to assist in the expulsion of the Danes. After one victorious occasion they wore green boughs in their helmets and on their horses' heads signifying their victory.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Arnell research. Another 215 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 1480, 1559, 1530, 1567, 1550, 1616, 1612, 1664 and 1694 are included under the topic Early Arnell History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 157 words(11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Arnell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Irish families left their homeland in astonishing numbers during the 19th century in search of a better life. Although individual reasons vary, most of these Irish families suffered from extreme poverty, lack of work opportunities, and exorbitant rents in their homeland. Many decided to travel to Australia or North America in the hopes of finding greater opportunities and land. The Irish immigrants that came to North America initially settled on the East Coast, often in major centers such as Boston or New York. But like the many other cultures to settle in North America, the Irish traveled to almost any region they felt held greater promise; as a result, many Irish with gold fever moved all the way out to the Pacific coast. Others before that time left for land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula, or the Maritimes as United Empire Loyalists, for many Irish did choose to side with the English during the American War of Independence. The earliest wave of Irish migration, however, occurred during the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. An examination of early immigration and passenger lists has revealed many people bearing the Arnell name:

Arnell Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Thomas Arnell, who arrived in Maryland in 1662
  • Eliz Arnell, who landed in Virginia in 1664
  • Sarah Arnell, who landed in Maryland in 1672
  • Grace Arnell, who arrived in Maryland in 1680

Arnell Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • William Arnell Jr., who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1773

Arnell Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • John C. Arnell, aged 42, who emigrated to the United States, in 1905
  • Charles Arnell, aged 18, who emigrated to the United States, in 1920
  • Emil Arnell, aged 41, who emigrated to the United States, in 1920
  • Fredrick Arnell, aged 27, who landed in America, in 1921
  • Chas. Arnell, aged 20, who settled in America, in 1922


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  • Samuel Mayes Arnell (1833-1903), American politician
  • Richard Anthony Sayer "Tony" Arnell (1917-2009), English composer of classical music
  • Alan Arnell (b. 1933), English-born former footballer


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  1. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  2. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  3. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  4. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  5. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  6. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  7. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  8. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  9. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  10. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  11. ...

The Arnell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Arnell Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 18 March 2014 at 15:26.

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