Show ContentsVarela Surname History

In the mountains of Scotland's west coast and on the Hebrides islands, the ancestors of the Varela family were born. Their name comes from the Gaelic name Muiredachus, meaning "belonging to the sea, a mariner," fro which also coes the more common and quite distinct name Murdoch.

Early Origins of the Varela family

The surname Varela was first found in Argyllshire (Gaelic erra Ghaidheal), the region of western Scotland corresponding roughly with the ancient Kingdom of Dál Riata, in the Strathclyde region of Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Argyll and Bute, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Early History of the Varela family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Varela research. Another 116 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1485 and 1845 are included under the topic Early Varela History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Varela Spelling Variations

In various documents Varela has been spelled Since medieval scribes still spelled according to sound, records from that era contain an enormous number of spelling variations. MacVurrich, MacVurich, MacVarish, MacVarrais, MacVarrich, MacWirriche, MacVorist, MacVorish, MacMorice, MacNuirighe and many more.

Early Notables of the Varela family

More information is included under the topic Early Varela Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Varela Ranking

In the United States, the name Varela is the 2,088th most popular surname with an estimated 14,922 people with that name. [1] However, in South America, the name Varela is ranked the 27th most popular surname with an estimated 120 people with that name. [2]


United States Varela migration to the United States +

The descendants of the Dalriadan families who made the great crossing of the Atlantic still dot communities along the east coast of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many of the settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Clan societies and highland games have allowed Canadian and American families of Scottish descent to recover much of their lost heritage. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name Varela or a variant listed above include:

Varela Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Andres Varela, who landed in Puerto Rico in 1803 [3]
  • Cayetano Varela, who landed in Puerto Rico in 1803 [3]
  • Jose Varela, aged 50, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1830 [3]
  • Feliz Varela, who arrived in Texas in 1835 [3]
  • Pascual Varela, who arrived in Puerto Rico in 1844 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Varela (post 1700) +

  • Alejandro Varela (b. 1979), American fiction writer, his novel The Town of Babylon was nominated for a National Book Award in 2022
  • Manuel F. Varela, American Republican politician, Postmaster at San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1954-62 [4]
  • Jose M. Varela, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Puerto Rico, 1996 [4]
  • Armando Varela (b. 1997), East Timorese professional footballer
  • Antonio María Rouco Varela (b. 1936), Spanish prelate of the Roman Catholic Church
  • Amancio Amaro Varela (1939-2023), commonly known simply as Amancio, was a Spanish football player
  • Ângelo Manuel Ferreira Varela (b. 1980), Portuguese footballer
  • Alan Gonzalo Varela (b. 2001), Argentine professional footballer
  • Adriana Varela (b. 1952), Argentine tango singer, born Beatriz Adriana Lichinchi
  • Alberto Varela (b. 1940), Uruguayan fencer, he competed in the individual foil and épée events at the 1968 Summer Olympics
  • ... (Another 9 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Varela 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: Omine secundo
Motto Translation: With favourable omen.


  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?". NameCensus.com, https://namecensus.com/last-names/
  2. "List of most common surnames in South America." Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_common_surnames_in_South_America
  3. 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)
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 10) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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