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

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

Cowell was first used as a surname by descendants of the Pictish people of ancient Scotland. The ancestors of the Cowell family lived in Coull, in Aberdeenshire. There is also another place so named, in the Highland Region, which may have independently given rise to this surname.


Repeated and inaccurate translation of Scottish names from Gaelic to English and back resulted in a wide variety of spelling variations with single names. Cowell has appeared Coull, Coul, Cowill, Cowell, Cull, Cowles, Cowl, Cowle and many more.

First found in Aberdeenshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Obar Dheathain), a historic county, and present day Council Area of Aberdeen, located in the Grampian region of northeastern Scotland, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cowell research. Another 161 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1219 and 1567 are included under the topic Early Cowell History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Cowell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many Scottish families suffered enormous hardships and were compelled to leave their country of birth. They traveled to Ireland and Australia, but mostly to the colonies of North America, where many found the freedom and opportunity they sought. It was not without a fight, though, as many were forced to stand up and defend their freedom in the American War of Independence. The ancestors of these Scots abroad have rediscovered their heritage in the last century through the Clan societies and other organizations that have sprung up across North America. Immigration and passenger ship lists show some important early immigrants bearing the name Cowell:

Cowell Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Elizabeth Cowell settled in Virginia in 1645
  • Elizabeth Cowell, who landed in Virginia in 1645
  • Edward Cowell, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1655
  • John Cowell, who landed in Maryland in 1663
  • Eleanor Cowell, who arrived in Maryland in 1673

Cowell Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Savena Cowell, aged 24, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1733
  • Mud Cowell, aged 32, landed in Pennsylvania in 1733
  • Con and Anna Cowell and three children arrived in Philadelphia in 1733
  • Ann Catranna Cowell, aged 3, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1733
  • Ann Elizh Cowell, aged 23, landed in Pennsylvania in 1733

Cowell Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • J Cowell, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851


  • Henry Dixon Cowell (1897-1965), American composer
  • Stanley Cowell (b. 1941), American jazz pianist
  • Janet Cowell (b. 1968), American politician, North Carolina State Treasurer (2008)
  • John F. Cowell (1852-1915), American botanist
  • John G. Cowell (1785-1814), American officer in the United States Navy during the War of 1812, eponym of the USS Cowell (DD-139), the USS Cowell (DD-167) and the USS Cowell (DD-547)
  • Warren C. "Brady" Cowell (1899-1989), American college football, basketball, and baseball coach
  • Robert Elmer "Bob" Cowell (1924-1960), American silver medalist backstroke swimmer at the 1948 Summer Olympics
  • Simon Philip Cowell (b. 1959), English A&R executive, television producer, entrepreneur, and television personality
  • Frank A Cowell, Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Edward Byles Cowell (1826-1903), English Sanskrit scholar



  • The Cowells of Wrentham by Roger Barnes.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Cole Deum
Motto Translation: Worship God.


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  1. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  2. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  3. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  5. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
  6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  7. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
  8. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  9. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  10. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  11. ...

The Cowell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Cowell 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 8 April 2014 at 20:25.

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