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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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.


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

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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cowell research. Another 211 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1219 and 1567 are included under the topic Early Cowell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


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


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 Ameri ca. 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

  • 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
  • Robert Cowell, American politician, Member of Nebraska Railway Commission, 1907
  • Richard Cowell, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1960
  • Lester N. Cowell, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for supervisor of Lansing Township, Michigan, 1938
  • Alfred E. Cowell, American politician, Mayor of Milwaukie, Oregon, 1923-27
  • ...

  • 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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    Other References

    1. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
    2. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
    3. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
    4. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
    5. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
    6. 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).
    7. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
    8. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
    9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
    10. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
    11. ...

    The Cowell Family Crest was acquired from the 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 28 December 2015 at 13:26.

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