Gemmell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Gemmell was derived from the Middle English word "Gamel" which meant the "old one." Gamel was a fairly popular personal name in Scotland particularly in Ayrshire. "Gemell" is also derived from the Italian word for "twins" and it if from this source that heralds derived the ordinary "bars-gemel" which de Picts "twin" bars or a pair of two barrulets, placed close together, referred to as one bar-gemel. Bars gemel were awarded for acts of particular bravery in times of war.

Early Origins of the Gemmell family

The surname Gemmell was first found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire, where one of the first records of the name was Gamel or Gamellus who witnessed charters by Richard, bishop of St. Andrews c. 1173. The same person witnessed a charter by Roger, bishop elect of St. Andrews relating to the church of Haddington c. 1189-1198.

Early History of the Gemmell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gemmell research. Another 58 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1250, 1600 and 1173 are included under the topic Early Gemmell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gemmell Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Gemmell, Gemel, Gemell, Gemmel, Gemmill and others.

Early Notables of the Gemmell family (pre 1700)

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


United States Gemmell migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gemmell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Michael Gemmell, who arrived in New England in 1709 with his wife and son
Gemmell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Gemmell, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1860
  • Walter Gemmell in the same port in 1868
  • Gemmell, aged 38, who landed in America, in 1892
Gemmell Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • David Gemmell, aged 44, who immigrated to America from Glasgow, in 1903
  • Annie Gemmell, aged 4, who immigrated to the United States from Bannockburn, Scotland, in 1907
  • Isabella Gemmell, aged 42, who immigrated to the United States from Greenock, Scotland, in 1910
  • James Gemmell, aged 26, who immigrated to America from Paisley, Scotland, in 1910
  • Annie Gemmell, aged 29, who settled in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1911
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Gemmell migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gemmell Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William Gemmell, who was a tailor in Montreal in 1851
Gemmell Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • James Gemmell, aged 40, who immigrated to Hamilton, Canada, in 1919

Australia Gemmell migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Gemmell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • George Gemmell, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Omega" [1]

New Zealand Gemmell 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:

Gemmell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. T. Gemmell, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Lord Ashley" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 14th October 1858 [2]
  • Mary Gemmell, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Clarence" in 1875

Contemporary Notables of the name Gemmell (post 1700) +

  • Thomas "Tommy" Gemmell (1943-2017), Scottish football player and manager
  • Tommy Gemmell (1930-2004), Scottish association football player
  • Ruth Gemmell (b. 1967), British actress
  • Rhys Gemmell (b. 1896), Australian former tennis player, winner of the Australian Championship men's singles title (1921)
  • Nikki Gemmell (b. 1967), Australian author
  • Kris Gemmell (b. 1977), New Zealand triathlete and aquathon, World Champion (2002)
  • David Gemmell (1948-2006), British author of heroic fantasy
  • William Gemmell Cochran (1909-1980), Scottish-born, American statistician who developed Cochran's theorem


  1. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) OMEGA 1851. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Omega.htm
  2. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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