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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the Scottish Cowell family come from? What is the Scottish Cowell family crest and coat of arms? When did the Cowell family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Cowell family history?

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.


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.

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, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cowell research. Another 161 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1219 and 1567 are included under the topic Early Cowell History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Cowell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


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 settled in Virginia in 1645
  • Elizabeth Cowell, who landed in Virginia in 1645
  • Edward Cowell, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1655
  • John Cowell, who landed in Maryland in 1663
  • Eleanor Cowell, who arrived in Maryland in 1673

Cowell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Savena Cowell, aged 24, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1733
  • Mud Cowell, aged 32, landed in Pennsylvania in 1733
  • Con and Anna Cowell and three children arrived in Philadelphia in 1733
  • Ann Catranna Cowell, aged 3, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1733
  • Ann Elizh Cowell, aged 23, landed in Pennsylvania in 1733

Cowell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • J Cowell, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851

Cowell Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Mr. Abraham Cowell U.E who settled in Canada c. 1783

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
  • John Cowell, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • James Cowell arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Louisa Baillie" in 1849
  • Alfred Jeremiah Cowell, aged 21, a carpenter, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Caucasian"

Cowell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Ralph Cowell, aged 32, a dairyman, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1850
  • Martha Cowell, aged 29, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1850
  • Ann Cowell arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Armstrong" in 1865


  • Henry Dixon Cowell (1897-1965), American composer
  • Stanley Cowell (b. 1941), American jazz pianist
  • Janet Cowell (b. 1968), American politician, North Carolina State Treasurer (2008)
  • John F. Cowell (1852-1915), American botanist
  • 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)
  • Warren C. "Brady" Cowell (1899-1989), American college football, basketball, and baseball coach
  • Robert Elmer "Bob" Cowell (1924-1960), American silver medalist backstroke swimmer at the 1948 Summer Olympics
  • Simon Philip Cowell (b. 1959), English A&R executive, television producer, entrepreneur, and television personality
  • Frank A Cowell, Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Edward Byles Cowell (1826-1903), English Sanskrit scholar



  • The Cowells of Wrentham by Roger Barnes.

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.


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  1. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  4. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  5. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  6. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  7. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  8. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  10. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  11. ...

The Cowell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Cowell Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 18 February 2015 at 13:15.

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