Neil History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Neil is a German occupational surname that evolved in the region known as the Rhineland. Germans at first used only one name, but population growth and increased travel in medieval times caused confusion between people of the same name, forcing the people to adopt hereditary surnames. These names often identified people by the kind of work they did. Neil is a name for a carpenter, builder or a person who made or sold nails. The name Neil is derived from the Old German word "nagal," which means "nail." There are also numerous places named Nagel in Germany.

Early Origins of the Neil family

The surname Neil was first found in Westphalia, where this family made important contributions toward the development of this district from ancient times. Always prominent in social and political affairs, the family formed alliances with other families within the Feudal System and the nation.

Early History of the Neil family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Neil research. Another 232 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1224, 1451, 1562, 1649, 1769, 1773, 1836, and 1851 are included under the topic Early Neil History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Neil Spelling Variations

One can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames: in early times, spelling in general, and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized; and later, spellings would change with branching and movement of families. Variations of the name Neil include Nagel, Nagle, Naegel, Nageli, Naegeli, Nagell, Nagler, Nagele, Naegele, Naegelen, Negel, Negele, Nail, Neil and many more.

Early Notables of the Neil family (pre 1700)

Another 39 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Neil Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Neil migration to the United States +

Hundreds of thousands of Europeans, including many Rhinelanders, made the voyage to North America between the 17th and 20th centuries. It was an escape from religious persecution and poverty and also an opportunity for people to start over and own their own land. Most landed at Ellis Island, off New York before moving on to the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, and California. Some also landed in Canada and settled in Ontario, while others headed west to the prairie provinces. A study of passenger and immigration lists has shown a number of people bearing the name of Neil, or one of its variants, reaching North America shores very early:

Neil Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Neil, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682 [1]
Neil Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Ferdinando Neil, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [1]
  • Robert Neil, who landed in South Carolina in 1772 [1]
  • Henry Neil, aged 18, who arrived in New York, NY in 1774 [1]
  • Matthew Neil, who arrived in America in 1794 [1]
  • Johan Henrich Neil, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1798 [1]
Neil Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Neil, who landed in America in 1802 [1]
  • Felix Neil, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1807 [1]
  • Barnard Neil, who landed in Maryland in 1809 [1]
  • Edward Neil, aged 30, who arrived in New York in 1812 [1]
  • Hugh Neil, aged 42, who arrived in New York in 1812 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Neil migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Neil Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Edward Neil, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Mr. George Neil U.E. who settled in Home District [York County], Ontario c. 1784 he served in the Loyal South Carolina Regiment [2]
Neil Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Neil, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1810
  • David Neil, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1820
  • Peter Neil, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1824
  • Henry Neil, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1826
  • Dennis Neil, aged 31, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Thomas Hanford" from Cork, Ireland
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Neil migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Neil Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Neil, Irish convict who was convicted in Wexford, Ireland for life for being a political prisoner, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 29th November 1801, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1804 he was executed for his part in the Castle Hill Escape. [3]
  • John Neil, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Adamant" on March 16, 1821, settling in New South Wales, Australia [4]
  • Mr. John Neil, Scottish convict who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for 14 years, transported aboard the "Henry Tanner" on 27th June 1834, settling in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • George Neil, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Birman" in 1840 [6]
  • Henry Neil, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Britannia" in 1846 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Neil migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Neil Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Neil, aged 38, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • Bridget Neil, aged 39, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • Edward Neil, aged 16, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • Ellen Neil, aged 14, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • Caroline Neil, aged 19, a housemaid, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Slains Castle" in 1841
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Neil (post 1700) +

  • Vincent Neil (b. 1961), American vocalist and musician
  • Dan Neil (b. 1960), American automotive columnist for the Los Angeles Times awarded the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
  • Mrs. Christine Drusilla Neil B.E.M., British recipient of the British Empire Medal on 8th June 2018, for services to charity in Shropshire
  • Andrew Ferguson Neil (b. 1949), Scottish journalist and broadcaster
  • Gerald Neil (b. 1978), Jamaican football defender
  • Alexander Francis Neil (b. 1981), Scottish footballer
  • Christopher Neil, British record producer, songwriter and singer
  • Andrea Neil (b. 1971), accomplished Canadian female soccer player
  • Prof. John Neil Loughhead C.B., O.B.E., FREng (b. 1948), born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, British businessman and Chief Scientific Advisor for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, was appointed Companion of the Order of Bath on 8th June 2018, for services to Research and Development in the Energy Sector [8]
  • Mr. Peter Neil Milledge C.B., British Counsel to the Chairman of Committees for House of Lords was appointed Companion of the Order of Bath on 17th June 2017, for services to the House of Lords

Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. M.  Neil, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [9]


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  3. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  4. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Adamant voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1821 with 144 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/adamant/1821
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/henry-tanner
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BIRMAN 1840. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840Birman.htm
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BRITANNIA 1846. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1846Britannia.htm
  8. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62310, 4 July 2019 | London Gazette, The Gazette, June 2018, https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/62310/supplement/B1
  9. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance


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