Varela Surname History

The Hebrides islands and the west coast of Scotland are the ancestral home of the Varela family. 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.

Important Dates for 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

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. Varela has been written as MacVurrich, MacVurich, MacVarish, MacVarrais, MacVarrich, MacWirriche, MacVorist, MacVorish, MacMorice, MacNuirighe and many more.

Early Notables of the Varela family (pre 1700)

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

Varela migration to the United States

Ancestors of many of the Dalriadan families who crossed the Atlantic still live along the east coast of the United States and Canada. Some Scottish settlers arrived in Canada during the American War of Independence as United Empire Loyalists, while others stayed south to fight for a new nation. The descendants of Scottish settlers in both countries began to rediscover their heritage in the 19th and 20th centuries through Clan societies and highland games. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Varela or a variant listed above:

Varela Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Andres Varela, who landed in Puerto Rico in 1803 [1]
  • Cayetano Varela, who landed in Puerto Rico in 1803 [1]
  • Jose Varela, aged 50, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1830 [1]
  • Feliz Varela, who arrived in Texas in 1835 [1]
  • Pascual Varela, who arrived in Puerto Rico in 1844 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Varela (post 1700)

  • Manuel F. Varela, American Republican politician, Postmaster at San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1954-62 [2]
  • Jose M. Varela, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Puerto Rico, 1996 [2]
  • Leonor Varela Palma (b. 1972), Chilean actress, and model
  • Fernando Varela Ramos (b. 1979), Spanish footballer
  • Gustavo Antonio Varela Rodríguez (b. 1978), Uruguayan football player
  • Francisco Javier Varela García (1946-2001), Chilean biologist, philosopher and neuroscientist
  • Bernardo Carreño Varela (b. 1929), Colombian economist
  • Enrique Varela Vidaurre (1856-1914), Peruvian soldier and politician, Minister of War and Navy of Peru (1912-1913), Prime Minister of Peru (1912-1914), Minister of War and Navy of Peru (1913-1914)


  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. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 10) . Retrieved from
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