Show ContentsArnell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name Arnell is Ó Néill, which means descendant of Niall, a personal name of Irish origin, thought to mean "champion." [1]

"Of the very great antiquity of this distinguished name and family there can be no doubt." [2]

Early Origins of the Arnell family

The surname Arnell was first found in County Tyrone (Irish: Tír Eoghain), the ancient territory of the O'Neills, now in the Province of Ulster, central Northern Ireland, and County Clare where O'Neill was chief of Clan Dalvy and of Tradree, a district in the barony of Inchiquinn. In the 10th century, a branch of this family went to Limerick to assist in the expulsion of the Danes.

After one victorious occasion they wore green boughs in their helmets and on their horses' heads signifying their victory.

Early History of the Arnell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Arnell research. Another 108 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1480, 1559, 1530, 1567, 1550, 1616, 1612, 1664, 1694, 1689 and 1689 are included under the topic Early Arnell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Arnell Spelling Variations

People who were accounted for by scribes and church officials often had their name recorded many different ways because pronunciation was the only guide those scribes and church officials had to go by. This resulted in the problem of one person's name being recorded under several different variations, creating the illusion of more than one person. Among the many spelling variations of the surname Arnell that are preserved in archival documents are O'Neill, Neal, Neale, Neales, Neil, Nihill, Niell, O'Nail, O'Neil, O'Niel and many more.

Early Notables of the Arnell family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name at this time was Sir Niall O'Neill who distinguished himself at the Battle of the Boyne; Conn O'Neill, 1st Earl of Tyrone (c.1480-1559) King of Tir Eogain; Shane O'Neill (c.1530-1567), Irish king of the O'Neill dynasty of Ulster; Hugh O'Neill (c. 1550-1616), Earl of Tyrone, also known as the Great Earl...
Another 56 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Arnell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Arnell migration to the United States +

Irish families left their homeland in astonishing numbers during the 19th century in search of a better life. Although individual reasons vary, most of these Irish families suffered from extreme poverty, lack of work opportunities, and exorbitant rents in their homeland. Many decided to travel to Australia or North America in the hopes of finding greater opportunities and land. The Irish immigrants that came to North America initially settled on the East Coast, often in major centers such as Boston or New York. But like the many other cultures to settle in North America, the Irish traveled to almost any region they felt held greater promise; as a result, many Irish with gold fever moved all the way out to the Pacific coast. Others before that time left for land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula, or the Maritimes as United Empire Loyalists, for many Irish did choose to side with the English during the American War of Independence. The earliest wave of Irish migration, however, occurred during the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. An examination of early immigration and passenger lists has revealed many people bearing the Arnell name:

Arnell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Arnell, who arrived in Maryland in 1662 [3]
  • Eliz Arnell, who landed in Virginia in 1664 [3]
  • Sarah Arnell, who landed in Maryland in 1672 [3]
  • Grace Arnell, who arrived in Maryland in 1680 [3]
Arnell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Arnell Jr., who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1773 [3]
Arnell Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • John C. Arnell, aged 42, who immigrated to the United States, in 1905
  • Charles Arnell, aged 18, who immigrated to the United States, in 1920
  • Emil Arnell, aged 41, who immigrated to the United States, in 1920
  • Fredrick Arnell, aged 27, who landed in America, in 1921
  • Chas. Arnell, aged 20, who settled in America, in 1922
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Arnell migration to Australia +

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

Arnell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Susannah Arnell, aged 18, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Marion" [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Arnell (post 1700) +

  • Samuel Mayes Arnell (1833-1903), American Republican politician, Member of Tennessee State House of Representatives, 1865-66; U.S. Representative from Tennessee 6th District, 1866-71 [5]
  • Robert Arnell, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Delaware, 1896 [5]
  • Alan Arnell (b. 1933), English-born former footballer
  • Richard Anthony Sayer "Tony" Arnell (1917-2009), English composer of classical music
  • Arnell Ignacio, Filipino game show host, comedian, actor, news anchor and singer-songwriter
  • Arnell Engstrom (1897-1970), American Republican politician, Insurance business; Member of Michigan State House of Representatives, 1941-68 (Grand Traverse County 1941-44, Grand Traverse District 1945-64, 104th District 1965-68);

HMS Royal Oak
  • George Arnell, British Able Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [6]

  1. MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  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. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The MARION 1849. Retrieved from
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 7) . Retrieved from
  6. Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from on Facebook