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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Where did the Scottish Gemmell family come from? What is the Scottish Gemmell family crest and coat of arms? When did the Gemmell family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Gemmell family history?

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.


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.


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.


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


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


  • 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. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  2. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  3. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  4. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  5. 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.
  6. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  7. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  8. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  9. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  10. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  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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