Donell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The sea-swept Hebrides islands and the west coast of Scotland are the ancestral home of the Donell family. Their name comes from the personal name Donald. the surname is derived from the Gaelic Mac Dhomhnuill, which means son of Donald; it is a form of the surname MacDonald.
Early Origins of the Donell family
The surname Donell was first found in Inverness, where the origins of this name can be traced back to Somerled, Regulus of the Isles, who evicted the Norsemen from the Western Isles during the 12th century. From him is descended John Macdonald, first Lord of the Isles, and it was MacDonald's younger son, Ranald, who was the progenitor of Clanrald, which includes the families of Moidart, Morar, Knoidart and Glengarry. The MacDonells are from this last branch. It is from Ranald's son, Donald, that the MacDonell's take their name (Son of Donald). There is also a branch of the MacDonells that claim Ranald's other son, Alistair, as its progenitor (the Keppoch branch).
Early History of the Donell family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Donell research. Another 376 words (27 lines of text) covering the years 1411, 1575, 1672, 1647, 1745, 1749, 1794, 1812 and 1790 are included under the topic Early Donell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Donell Spelling Variations
Medieval translation of Gaelic names could not be referred to as an accurate process. Spelling was not yet standardized, and names in documents from that era are riddled with spelling variations. Donell has been written as MacDonnell, MacDonnel, McDonnell, MacDonell and others.
Early Notables of the Donell family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Donell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Donell family to Ireland
Some of the Donell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 118 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Donell migration to the United States +
Many of the ancestors of Dalriadan families who arrived in North America still live in communities along the east coast of Canada and the United States. In the American War of Independence many of the original settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the ancestors of many Scots began recovering their collective national heritage through Clan societies, highland games, and other patriotic events. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Donell or a variant listed above:
Donell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- Walter Donell, who arrived in Virginia in 1654 
- Moragha Donell, who landed in Virginia in 1655 
Donell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Alexander Donell, who landed in New York in 1811 
- Jane Donell, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 
- David Donell, aged 23, who landed in Maine in 1812 
- Dennis Donell, who arrived in Illinois in 1856-1864 
Donell migration to Australia +
Emigration to Australia
followed the First Fleets
of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:
Donell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
- Margaret Donell, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Caucasian" 
Contemporary Notables of the name Donell (post 1700) +
- Ricky Donell Minard Jr. (b. 1982), American professional NBA basketball player
Related Stories +
The Donell 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: Per mare, per terras
Motto Translation: By water and land.
- ^ 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)
- ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 26 April 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Caucasian 1857. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/caucasian1857.shtml