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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016


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.

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

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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gemmell research. Another 115 words (8 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.

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

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gemmell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Michael Gemmell arrived in New England in 1709 with his wife and son

Gemmell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Patrick Gemmell 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 emigrated to America from Glasgow, in 1903
  • Annie Gemmell, aged 4, who emigrated to the United States from Bannockburn, Scotland, in 1907
  • Isabella Gemmell, aged 42, who emigrated to the United States from Greenock, Scotland, in 1910
  • James Gemmell, aged 26, who emigrated to America from Paisley, Scotland, in 1910
  • Annie Gemmell, aged 29, who settled in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1911


Gemmell Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • William Gemmell was a tailor in Montreal in 1851

Gemmell Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century


  • James Gemmell, aged 40, who emigrated to Hamilton, Canada, in 1919

Gemmell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • George Gemmell, aged 22, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Omega"

Gemmell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Mary Gemmell, aged 21, a servant, arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Clarence" in 1875

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  • Tommy Gemmell (1930-2004), Scottish association football player
  • Thomas "Tommy" Gemmell (b. 1943), Scottish footballer and manager
  • 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


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  1. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  2. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  5. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  6. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  7. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  8. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  9. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  10. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  11. ...

The Gemmell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gemmell 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 18 November 2014 at 14:31.

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