MacAskill History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The MacAskill family history stretches back to the clans of the Dalriadan kingdom on the sea-swept Hebrides islands and mountainous western coast of Scotland. The name MacAskill is derived from an ancient Norse warrior name Askell, which means cauldron of the Gods and denoted son of Asgaill.

Early Origins of the MacAskill family

The surname MacAskill was first found in living on the Islands of Skye and of Lewis (Scottish Gaelic: Leòdhas), where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects. On Skye, ancestors of the MacAskill Clan occupied the district of "Rubha an Dunain, " where the ruins of the family residence may seen to this day.

Early History of the MacAskill family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacAskill research. Another 128 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1863 and 1795 are included under the topic Early MacAskill History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacAskill Spelling Variations

Spelling in the medieval era was a highly imprecise process. Translation, particularly from Gaelic to English, was little better. For these reasons, early Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. In various documents MacAskill has been spelled MacAskill, MacAskill, Gaskell, Gaskill, MacGaskill, MacKaskil, MacKaskill and many more.

Early Notables of the MacAskill family (pre 1700)

Another 32 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacAskill Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States MacAskill migration to the United States +

Settlers from Scotland put down roots in communities all along the east coast of North America. Some moved north from the American colonies to Canada as United Empire Loyalists during the American War of Independence. As Clan societies and highland games started in North America in the 20th century many Scots rediscovered parts of their heritage. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name MacAskill were among those contributors:

MacAskill Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Kenneth MacAskill, who arrived in North Carolina in 1750
  • Kenneth MacAskill, who landed in North Carolina in 1750 [1]

Canada MacAskill migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

MacAskill Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Murdo MacAskill, Margaret MacAskill, Malcolm MacAskill, and John MacAskill, were recorded in Quebec, Canada in 1842-43

Australia MacAskill migration to Australia +

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

MacAskill Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Murdo Macaskill, aged 28, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Switzerland"
  • Donald Macaskill, aged 25, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Royal Albert"
  • James Macaskill, aged 32, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Royal Albert"
  • Malcolm Macaskill, aged 50, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Royal Albert"
  • Angus Macaskill, aged 26, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Royal Albert"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand MacAskill 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:

MacAskill Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Allen MacAskill, who landed in Thames, Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Lachlan MacAskill, who landed in Thames, Auckland, New Zealand in 1840

Contemporary Notables of the name MacAskill (post 1700) +

  • Ishbel MacAskill (1941-2011), Scottish Gaelic singer and her husband Bill MacAskill, author of "A Short History of the MacAskills"
  • Daniel "Danny" MacAskill (b. 1985), Scottish trials cyclist
  • Kenneth "Kenny" Wright MacAskill (b. 1958), Scottish National Party member of the Scottish Parliament, Cabinet Secretary for Justice (2007-2014)
  • John Donald MacAskill (1907-1994), Canadian educator, politician and municipal official born in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Mayor of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan from 1954 to 1958
  • Klara MacAskill (b. 1964), Hungarian-born, Canadian bronze medalist sprint kayaker at the 1994 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships
  • Dianne Macaskill, New Zealand Chief Executive and Chief Archivist of Archives New Zealand (2001-2009)
  • Angus Mòr MacAskill (1825-1863), known as Giant MacAskill or Black Angus, Scottish-born Canadian giant who held the 1981 Guinness Book of World Record height of (7 ft 9 in, or 2.36 m)


The MacAskill 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: Spea
Motto Translation: By hope.


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


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