Show ContentsMacDougall History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The MacDougall 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 MacDougall is derived from the personal name Dougal. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Dhughaill and literally means son of Dougal.

Early Origins of the MacDougall family

The surname MacDougall was first found in Galloway (Gaelic: Gall-ghaidhealaibh), an area of southwestern Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Dumfries and Galloway, that formerly consisted of the counties of Wigtown (West Galloway) and Kirkcudbright (East Galloway), where they were descended from Dugall eldest son of Somerled, first Lord of the Isles, and his son Duncan who received the lands of Lorn. The Clan was a bitter foe of Robert the Bruce, who made a narrow escape during one battle with the MacDougals only by discarding his cloak. The brooch of this cloak, now known as the Brooch of Lorn, is a treasured possession of the Chief of the Clan. The Clan faced heavy retaliation and was stripped of their lands once Robert the Bruce secured the Scottish throne. The lands were restored to the Clan upon the death of the king, but passed to the Stewarts in 1388 when the last member of the senior branch of MacDougals died without issue.

Early History of the MacDougall family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacDougall research. Another 154 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1175, 1244 and 1316 are included under the topic Early MacDougall History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacDougall Spelling Variations

Medieval translation of Gaelic names could not be referred to as an accurate process. Spelling was not yet standardized, and names in documents from that era are riddled with spelling variations. MacDougall has been written as MacDougall, MacDowall, MacDowell, MacDugald, MacDill and many more.

Early Notables of the MacDougall family

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was

  • Donnchadh of Argyll or Donnchadh mac Dubhghaill (c. 1175-1244), Scottish noble, the first of the MacDougall lords of Argyll to take the title de Argadia

MacDougall Ranking

In the United States, the name MacDougall is the 7,078th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. 1 However, in Canada, the name MacDougall is ranked the 663rd most popular surname with an estimated 7,847 people with that name. 2

Ireland Migration of the MacDougall family to Ireland

Some of the MacDougall family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States MacDougall migration to the United States +

The descendants of the Dalriadan families who made the great crossing of the Atlantic still dot communities along the east coast of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many of the settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Clan societies and highland games have allowed Canadian and American families of Scottish descent to recover much of their lost heritage. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name MacDougall or a variant listed above include:

MacDougall Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John MacDougall, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 3

Canada MacDougall migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

MacDougall Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John MacDougall U.E., (MacDougal) who settled in Canada c. 1784 4

Contemporary Notables of the name MacDougall (post 1700) +

  • Malcolm "Mal" MacDougall (1928-2014), American speechwriter and creative director from the advertising industry
  • Clinton Dugald MacDougall (1839-1914), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York (1875-1877)
  • Ronald G. "Bon" MacDougall (1901-1970), Canadian-born, American racecar driver who raced in the 1926 Indy 500
  • Alex MacDougall, American record producer, and percussionist
  • Adam MacDougall (b. 1974), American keyboardist for The Ben Taylor Band and Furslide
  • Ranald MacDougall (1915-1973), American Academy Award nominated screenwriter, known for Cleopatra (1963), Mildred Pierce (1945) and We're No Angels (1989)
  • Dr. Duncan "Om" MacDougall (1866-1920), American physician who put forward the claim that the soul weighed 21 grams
  • Curtis Daniel MacDougall (1903-1985), American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Illinois 10th District, 1944 5
  • Clinton Dugald MacDougall (1839-1914), American Republican politician, U.S. Representative from New York, 1873-77 5
  • Albert E. MacDougall, American Republican politician, Presidential Elector for New York, 1952 5
  • ... (Another 18 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The MacDougall 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: Buaidh no bàs
Motto Translation: Victory or death

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. "Surnames Meanings, Origins & Distribution Maps - Forebears." Forebears,
  3. 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)
  4. Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 15) . Retrieved from on Facebook