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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
Origins Available: Irish, Scottish
The ancestors of the McNeil family come from the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. Their surname comes from the personal name Neil. The Gaelic form Mac Neill translates as son of Neil.
Medieval spelling was at best an intuitive process, and translation between Gaelic and English was no more effective. These factors caused an enormous number of spelling variations in Dalriadan names. In fact, it was not uncommon to see a father and son who spelled their name differently. Over the years, McNeil has been spelled MacNeil, MacNeill, MacNeal, MacNeilage, MacNeale, MacNeall, MacNeille, MacNeel, MacNiel, MacGreal, Mcneil, Mcneill, McNeal, Mcneal, Mcneall and many more.
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.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McNeil research. Another 721 words (52 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 McNeil History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 111 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McNeil Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the McNeil family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 157 words (11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.
Settlers from Scotland put down roots in communities all along the east coast of North America. Some moved north from the American colonies to Canada as United Empire Loyalists during the American War of Independence. As Clan societies and highland games started in North America in the 20th century many Scots rediscovered parts of their heritage. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name McNeil were among those contributors:
McNeil Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- Hector McNeil, who landed in New Jersey in 1685
- Malcolm McNeil, who arrived in New Jersey in 1685
McNeil Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
- Neil McNeil, who arrived in Cape Fear, North Carolina in 1718
- Margaret McNeil, who arrived in New York in 1738
- Mary McNeil, who landed in New York, NY in 1739
- Dugold McNeil, who landed in North Carolina in 1739
- Anne McNeil, who landed in New York, NY in 1740
McNeil Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Thomas McNeil, who landed in America in 1803
- William McNeil, who landed in America in 1805
- Jane McNeil, aged 27, landed in Maine in 1812
- Henry C McNeil, who arrived in Texas in 1835
- Angus McNeil, who arrived in Texas in 1835
McNeil Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
- Hugh McNeil, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
- Major. McNeil U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway, [Shelbourne], Nova Scotia on December 13, 1783 was Passenger number 419 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on November 14, 1783 at East River, New York, USA
- Mr. Neil McNeil U.E. who settled in Carleton, [Saint John West] New Brunswick c. 1784
- Mr. Archibald McNeil U.E. who settled in Saint Johns, New Brunswick c. 1784 he became a Freeman Mariner in 1785, was also a member of the Loyal Artillery in 1795
- Mr. Charles McNeil U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784
McNeil Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
- John McNeil, who was a soldier on record in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1812
- Robt McNeil, who arrived in Canada in 1820
- Samuel McNeil, aged 20, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
- Andrew McNeil, aged 18, landed in Quebec in 1834
McNeil Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
- Christian McNeil arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Orleana" in 1839
- Peter McNeil arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Orleana" in 1839
- Esther McNeil, aged 28, a housemaid, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Sir Edward Parry"
- Jane McNeil, aged 22, a housemaid, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Sir Edward Parry"
- Allen McNeil, aged 43, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Confiance"
McNeil Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- John McNeil, aged 45, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inchinnan" in 1852
- Catherine McNeil, aged 35, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inchinnan" in 1852
- Eliza McNeil, aged 13, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inchinnan" in 1852
- Alexander McNeil, aged 5, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inchinnan" in 1852
- John McNeil, aged 1, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inchinnan" in 1852
- Brigadier-General Edwin Colyer McNeil (1882-1965), American Chairman of Board of Review, Office of the Judge Advocate-General (1936-1937)
- Lori McNeil (b. 1963), African-American tennis coach and former professional tennis player
- Freeman McNeil (b. 1959), former professional American football player
- Mr. M. McNeil, Scottish Seaman aboard the SS Curaca from Barra, Scotland, United Kingdom who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
- Hector McNeil PC (1907-1955), Scottish Labour politician
- John Law McNeil, Scottish footballer
- Moses McNeil (1855-1938), Scottish professional footballer
- William "Billy" McNeil (b. 1940), Scottish soccer player and manager
- Mr. Pius McNeil (1885-1914), Canadian Miner from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada who worked in the Hillcrest Coal Mine, Alberta, Canada and died in the mine collapse on June 19 1914
- Mr. Roland McNeil, Canadian resident from Protestant Orphanage, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
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.
- Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
- Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
- Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
- Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
- Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
- Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
- Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
- Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
- Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
- Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
The McNeil Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McNeil 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 16 March 2016 at 13:35.
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