Irish names tend to vary widely in their spelling and overall form. The original Gaelic form of the name Kneil is Ó Néill, which means descendant of Niall, a personal name
of Irish origin, thought to mean "champion."
Early Origins of the Kneil family
The surname Kneil was first found in County Tyrone
(Irish: Tír Eoghain), the ancient territory of the O'Neills, now in the Province of Ulster
, central Northern Ireland
, and County Clare
where O'Neill was chief of Clan
Dalvy and of Tradree, a district in the barony of Inchiquinn. In the 10th century, a branch of this family went to Limerick
to assist in the expulsion of the Danes. After one victorious occasion they wore green boughs in their helmets and on their horses' heads signifying their victory.
Early History of the Kneil family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kneil research.Another 215 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1480, 1559, 1530, 1567, 1550, 1616, 1612, 1664, 1694, 1689 and 1689 are included under the topic Early Kneil History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Kneil Spelling Variations
Many spelling variations
of the surname Kneil can be found in the archives. One reason for these variations is that ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. The different spellings that were found include O'Neill, Neal, Neale, Neales, Neil, Nihill, Niell, O'Nail, O'Neil, O'Niel and many more.
Early Notables of the Kneil family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family name at this time was Sir Niall O'Neill who distinguished himself at the Battle of the Boyne; Conn O'Neill, 1st Earl of Tyrone
(c.1480-1559) King of Tir Eogain; Shane O'Neill (c.1530-1567), Irish king of the O'Neill dynasty of Ulster; Hugh O'Neill (c.
1550-1616), Earl of Tyrone
, also... Another 61 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kneil Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Kneil family to the New World and Oceana
In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine
of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia
. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the Kneil family came to North America quite early: Captain James Neale (1615-1684) who arrived about 1635 in Maryland and received 1,000 acres of land, many of his descendants became Jesuit priests; Edward Neal settled in Boston in 1849.