Cowl History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In Scottish history, few names go farther back than Cowl, whose ancestors lived among the clans of the Pictish tribe. The ancestors of the Cowl 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 Cowl family

The surname Cowl 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 Cowl family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cowl 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 Cowl History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cowl Spelling Variations

Although Medieval Scotland lacked a basic set of spelling rules, which meant that scribes recorded names according to their sounds it was not uncommon for the names of a father and son to be recorded differently. As a result, there are many spelling variations of Scottish single names. Cowl has been written Coull, Coul, Cowill, Cowell, Cull, Cowles, Cowl, Cowle and many more.

Early Notables of the Cowl family (pre 1700)

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


United States Cowl migration to the United States +

Thousands of Scots left their home country to travel to Ireland or Australia, or to cross the Atlantic for the North American colonies. The difficult crossing was an enormous hurdle, but those who survived found freedom and opportunity in ample measure. Some Scots even fought for their freedom in the American War of Independence. This century, their ancestors have become aware of the illustrious history of the Scots in North America and at home through Clan societies and other organizations. Passenger and immigration lists show many early and influential immigrants bearing the name Cowl:

Cowl Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hans Adam Cowl, aged 20, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1743 [4]
Cowl Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Martin and Sam Cowl, who arrived in San Francisco in 1850
  • J W Cowl, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [4]
  • M H Cowl, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [4]

New Zealand Cowl 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:

Cowl Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Cowl, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Owen Glendowner" in 1864

Contemporary Notables of the name Cowl (post 1700) +

  • Margaret Cowl, American politician, Candidate for New York State Senate 12th District, 1934, 1936 [5]
  • Fred E. Cowl, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Wheeling, West Virginia, 1929-33 (acting, 1929) [5]


The Cowl 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.


  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. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 13) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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