MacColl History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

MacColl is a very old Scottish name that may even date back to the Dalriadan tribe of Scotland's western coast and Hebrides islands. It comes from the Gaelic surname of Scottish origin, which means son of the battle chief.

Saint Gall (550?-645?), originally named Cellach or Caillech, was abbot and the apostle of the Suevi and the Alemanni, and appears to have been the son of Cethernach, an Irishman of noble lineage, of the sept of Hy-Cennsealach, his mother being, it is asserted, a queen of Hungary. [1]

The MacGall variant was later derived from the Gaelic Mac goill, or Mac an ghoill, 'stranger's son,' 'Lowlander.' [2]

The MacCall variant was from the Gaelic MacCathail, 'son of Cathal,' "the M'Calls of Guffokland were an old Nithsdale family. Robert M'Kawele, was Lord of Karsnelohe, c. 1370-1380." [2]

Early Origins of the MacColl family

The surname MacColl was first found in Argyllshire (Gaelic erra Ghaidheal), the region of western Scotland corresponding roughly with the ancient Kingdom of Dál Riata, in the Strathclyde region of Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Argyll and Bute, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

The Maccalls of Dumfriesshire were settled there as early as 1500, and are said to be descended from the Macaulays. John M'Call is recorded in Cumbray, 1583 (Hunter, p. 31). Matthew McCall in Maybole, charged with reset of rebels in 1607, appears a few days later as McEall (RPC., XIV p. 507). Quintigern Makcall, bailie of Edinburgh, 1610. [2]

Early History of the MacColl family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacColl research. Another 215 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1629, 1684, 1686, 1688, 1602 and are included under the topic Early MacColl History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacColl Spelling Variations

Spelling variations are a very common occurrence in records of early Scottish names. They result from the repeated and inaccurate translations that many names went through in the course of various English occupations of Scotland. MacColl has been spelled MacAll, MacColl, MacCole, MacCall, MacAul, Mccall and others.

Early Notables of the MacColl family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the MacColl family to Ireland

Some of the MacColl family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States MacColl migration to the United States +

Numerous Scottish settlers settled along the east coast of the colonies that would become the United States and Canada. Others traveled to the open country of the west. At the time of the American War of Independence, some remained in the United States, while those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The highland games and Clan societies that sprang up across North America in the 20th century have helped many Scots to recover parts of their lost traditions. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first MacColls to arrive in North America:

MacColl Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Archibald, Hugh, James, John, Patrick and William MacColl all, who arrived in Pennsylvania between 1840 and 1860

Contemporary Notables of the name MacColl (post 1700) +

  • William B. MacColl, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Rhode Island, 1912 [3]
  • Kenneth D. MacColl, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Rhode Island, 1932 [3]
  • Dugald Sutherland MacColl (1859-1948), Scottish painter and art historian
  • Ewan MacColl (1915-1989), Scottish folksinger/composer/author/playwright


  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 12) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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