Cowell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cowell was first used as a surname by descendants of the Pictish people of ancient Scotland. The ancestors of the Cowell family lived in Coull, in Aberdeenshire. There is also another place so named, in the Highland Region, which may have independently given rise to this surname.

Early Origins of the Cowell family

The surname Cowell was first found in Aberdeenshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Obar Dheathain), a historic county, and present day Council Area of Aberdeen, located in the Grampian region of northeastern Scotland in the parish of Coull.

"This place is supposed to have taken its name, which signifies a 'corner,' from its situation in the south-eastern extremity of the district of Cromar. " [1]

Coull Castle was an 13th-century castle to the south of Coull. Only traces of the castle can be found today.

Some of the first records of the family include: William de Cull who was one of the witnesses to a charter by John, Earl of Huntington to Norman filius Malcolm of the lands of Lesslyn etc., between 1219 and 1237; and John Cowl possessed a tenement in Glasgow in 1458. [2]

Further south in northern England, the Lay Subsidy Rolls of 1332 listed John de Couhill, of Rishton, Lancashire; and John de Coule, of Blackburn, Lancashire, 1332. [3]

Early History of the Cowell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cowell research. Another 173 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1219, 1567, 1479, 1481, 1567, 1554, 1611, 1554 and 1570 are included under the topic Early Cowell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cowell Spelling Variations

Repeated and inaccurate translation of Scottish names from Gaelic to English and back resulted in a wide variety of spelling variations with single names. Cowell has appeared Coull, Coul, Cowill, Cowell, Cull, Cowles, Cowl, Cowle and many more.

Early Notables of the Cowell family (pre 1700)

Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cowell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Cowell migration to the United States +

Many Scottish families suffered enormous hardships and were compelled to leave their country of birth. They traveled to Ireland and Australia, but mostly to the colonies of North America, where many found the freedom and opportunity they sought. It was not without a fight, though, as many were forced to stand up and defend their freedom in the American War of Independence. The ancestors of these Scots abroad have rediscovered their heritage in the last century through the Clan societies and other organizations that have sprung up across North America. Immigration and passenger ship lists show some important early immigrants bearing the name Cowell:

Cowell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Elizabeth Cowell, who settled in Virginia in 1645
  • Elizabeth Cowell, who landed in Virginia in 1645 [4]
  • Edward Cowell, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1655 [4]
  • John Cowell, who landed in Maryland in 1663 [4]
  • Eleanor Cowell, who arrived in Maryland in 1673 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Cowell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Savena Cowell, aged 24, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1733 [4]
  • Mud Cowell, aged 32, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1733 [4]
  • Con and Anna Cowell and three children arrived in Philadelphia in 1733
  • Ann Catranna Cowell, aged 3, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1733 [4]
  • Ann Elizh Cowell, aged 23, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1733 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Cowell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • J Cowell, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [4]

Canada Cowell migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Cowell Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Abraham Cowell U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1783 [5]

Australia Cowell migration to Australia +

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

Cowell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Cowell, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [6]
  • John Cowell, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [7]
  • Mr. Edward Cowell, English convict who was convicted in Leicester, Leicestershire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Barossa" on 8th December 1839, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mr. Joseph Cowell, (b. 1820), aged 19, English labourer who was convicted in Chester, Cheshire, England for 7 years for pick pocketing, transported aboard the "Barossa" on 8th December 1839, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • James Cowell, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Louisa Baillie" in 1849 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Cowell 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:

Cowell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Ralph Cowell, aged 32, a dairyman, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1850
  • Martha Cowell, aged 29, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1850
  • Mr. T. Cowell, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Norman Morrison" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand, Via Wellington and Lyttleton in 1854 [10]
  • Mr. Cowell, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Norman Morrison" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand, Via Wellington and Lyttleton in 1854 [10]
  • Mrs. Cowell, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Norman Morrison" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand, Via Wellington and Lyttleton in 1854 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Cowell (post 1700) +

  • Robert Elmer "Bob" Cowell (1924-1960), American silver medalist backstroke swimmer at the 1948 Summer Olympics
  • Warren C. "Brady" Cowell (1899-1989), American college football, basketball, and baseball coach
  • John G. Cowell (1785-1814), American officer in the United States Navy during the War of 1812, eponym of the USS Cowell (DD-139), the USS Cowell (DD-167) and the USS Cowell (DD-547)
  • John F. Cowell (1852-1915), American botanist
  • Janet Cowell (b. 1968), American politician, North Carolina State Treasurer (2008)
  • Stanley Cowell (b. 1941), American jazz pianist
  • Henry Dixon Cowell (1897-1965), American composer
  • Robert Cowell, American politician, Member of Nebraska Railway Commission, 1907 [11]
  • Richard Cowell, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1960 [11]
  • Lester N. Cowell, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for supervisor of Lansing Township, Michigan, 1938 [11]
  • ... (Another 16 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Cornwall
  • Frank Edwin Cowell (d. 1942), British Warrant Officer Gunner aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [12]


The Cowell 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: Cole Deum
Motto Translation: Worship God.


Suggested Readings for the name Cowell +

  • 4968 "The Cowells of Wrentham" by Roger Barnes.

  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1823
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Argyle voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1831 with 251 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/argyle/1831
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/barossa
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The LOUISA BAILLIE 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849LouisaBaillie.htm
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 13) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  12. ^ Force Z Survivors Crew List HMS Cornwall (Retrieved 2018, February 13th) - Retrieved from https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listcornwallcrew.html#A


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