Donnwell comes from the ancient Dalriadan clans of Scotland's west coast and Hebrides
islands. The 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 Donnwell family
The surname Donnwell 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 Donnwell family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Donnwell research.Another 751 words (54 lines of text) covering the years 1411, 1575, 1672, 1647, 1745, 1749, 1794, 1812 and 1790 are included under the topic Early Donnwell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Donnwell Spelling Variations
The translation of Gaelic names in the Middle Ages was not a task undertaken with great care. Records from that era show an enormous number of spelling variations
, even in names referring to the same person. Over the years Donnwell has appeared as MacDonnell, MacDonnel, McDonnell, MacDonell and others.
Early Notables of the Donnwell family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Donnwell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Donnwell family to Ireland
Some of the Donnwell family moved to Ireland
, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.Another 223 words (16 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Donnwell family to the New World and Oceana
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 Donnwell or a variant listed above: John MacDonnell, who settled in Virginia in 1650; and of course, the large settlement of MacDonnells who settled in Canada.
The Donnwell 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.