The sea-swept Hebrides
islands and the west coast of Scotland
are the ancestral home of the MacNiel family. Their name comes from the personal name Neil.
The Gaelic form Mac Neill
translates as son of Neil.
Early Origins of the MacNiel family
The surname MacNiel was first found in on the islands of Barra, Gigha, Colonsay
, and Oronsay. According to traditional records in 1049, Niall, a direct descendent of King Niall of the Nine Hostages, landed in Barra and founded the Clan
MacNeill of Barra. However, another kinsman, some believe to be the younger brother of Niall named Anrothan, married a Princess of the Dalriadans, an ancient race from which sprang most of the early Scottish Kings. Legend has it that Anrothan started the MacNeill house of Colonsay
through his son Torquil of Taynish. This latter branch acquired the lands of Gigha, Colonsay
and Oronsay, beyond the Firth of Lorne. For the next two centuries it appears as though these two great houses were developing independently of one another.
Early History of the MacNiel family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacNiel research.Another 361 words (26 lines of text) covering the years 1590, 1730, 1370, 1380, 1526, 1562, 1640, 1631, 1640, 1612, 1613 and 1686 are included under the topic Early MacNiel History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacNiel Spelling Variations
Medieval translation of Gaelic names could not be referred to as an accurate process. Spelling was not yet standardized, and names in documents from that era are riddled with spelling variations
. MacNiel has been written as MacNeil, MacNeill, MacNeal, MacNeilage, MacNeale, MacNeall, MacNeille, MacNeel, MacNiel, MacGreal, Mcneil, Mcneill, McNeal, Mcneal, Mcneall and many more.
Early Notables of the MacNiel family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the Clan
from early times was Nigel M'Nele, Laird of Blarekanne c. 1370-1380; Alexander Makneyll, a notary public in Edinburgh in 1526; Richard Neile (1562-1640) was an English churchman, Archbishop... Another 32 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacNiel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the MacNiel family to Ireland
Some of the MacNiel family moved to Ireland
, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.Another 85 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the MacNiel family to the New World and Oceana
Many of the ancestors of Dalriadan families who arrived in North America still live in communities along the east coast of Canada and the United States. In the American War of Independence
many of the original settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the ancestors of many Scots began recovering their collective national heritage through Clan
societies, highland games, and other patriotic events. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name MacNiel or a variant listed above: Daniel Macneil, who arrived in Boston in 1652; James Macneil, who arrived in Boston in 1652; Daniel Macneele, who arrived in Maryland in 1674; Hector MacNeale, who arrived in Virginia in 1700.
The MacNiel Motto
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: Vincere vel mori
Motto Translation: To conquer or die.
MacNiel Family Crest Products