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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: Irish, Scottish

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

In ancient Scotland, the first people to use MacGill as a surname were the Strathclyde- Britons. It was a name someone who lived in Galloway. The MacGill surname also comes from the Gaelic patronytmic name Mac an Ghoill, which means "son of the stranger."


The origin of rules governing the spelling of names and even words is a very recent innovation. Before that, words and names were spelled according to sound, and, therefore, often appeared under several different spelling variations in a single document. MacGill has been spelled MacGill, Magill, Makgill and others.

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 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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacGill research. Another 181 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1231, 1579 and 1734 are included under the topic Early MacGill History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 75 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacGill Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the MacGill family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 179 words (13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


The persecution faced in their homeland left many Scots with little to do but sail for the colonies of North America. There they found land, freedom, opportunity, and nations in the making. They fought for their freedom in the American War of Independence, or traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In both cases, they made enormous contributions to the formation of those great nations. Among them:

MacGill Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • James Macgill, who landed in Maryland in 1730
  • Patrick MacGill settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina with Richard, Samuel and William, in 1767
  • Andrew MacGill settled in Virginia in 1774

MacGill Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Anthony MacGill, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1811
  • Robert MacGill, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816
  • Daniel, Hugh, James, John, Patrick, Samuel, and William MacGill all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860


  • William MacGill (1922-1997), American educator and psychology professor
  • Patrick MacGill (1889-1963), Irish journalist, poet and novelist, known as "The Navvy Poet"
  • Moyna Macgill (1895-1975), born Charlotte Lillian McIldowie, Irish stage and film actress and the mother of actress Angela Lansbury
  • Helen Emma Gregory MacGill (1864-1947), one of Canada's first woman judges
  • Elizabeth Muriel Gregory "Elsie" MacGill OC (1905-1980), Canadian world's first female aircraft designer, known as the "Queen of the Hurricanes"
  • Charles William Terry "Charlie" MacGill (1916-1999), Australian cricketer, who played six first-class matches for Western Australia


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: Sine fine
Motto Translation: Without end.


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  1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  2. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  3. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  4. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  5. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  6. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  7. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  8. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  9. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  10. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  11. ...

The MacGill Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The MacGill 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 21 January 2013 at 12:56.

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