Show ContentsMacMichael History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The MacMichael family comes from the ancient Scottish Dalriadan clans of the mountainous west coast of Scotland. The name MacMichael is derived from the devotion of an ancestor to St. Michael. The Gaelic form of the surname is Mac Giolla Mhicheil , which means son of the servant of St. Michael. [1]

Early Origins of the MacMichael family

The surname MacMichael was first found in Angus (Gaelic: Aonghas), part of the Tayside region of northeastern Scotland, and present day Council Area of Angus, formerly known as Forfar or Forfarshire.

Early spellings for the family were closer to the Gaelic version: "Malmur Mac Gillemichel was one of the perambulators of the lands of Balfeth in Angus between 1204 and 1211. Gillecolme Makgillemichell and Kennathe Makgillemichell were charter witnesses in Lesmore, Argyllshire, 1251, and Makbeth Makgilmichel was present at pleas held at Dull in 1264. In the end of the thirteenth century Malcolm, earl of Lennox, transferred to Sir John of Luss the homage and service of Maldofen Macgillemychmore and his heirs. Celestine Macgillemichaell was a cleric of the diocese of Argyll, 1411, and another Celestine McGilmichel witnessed an Atholl charter in 1453." [2]

Early History of the MacMichael family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacMichael research. Another 231 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1204, 1506, 1480, 1506, 1646, 1507, 1527, 1532, 1557, 1597, 1613, 1624, 1632, 1675, 1677, 1735, 1788 and are included under the topic Early MacMichael History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacMichael Spelling Variations

Spelling variations were extremely common in medieval names, since scribes from that era recorded names according to sound rather than a standard set of rules. MacMichael has appeared in various documents spelled MacMichael, MacGilliemichael, M'Ilmichael, McKillmichaell, McKilmichael, Macmitchel, McMitchell and many more.

Early Notables of the MacMichael family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the MacMichael family to Ireland

Some of the MacMichael family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 51 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States MacMichael migration to the United States +

Dalriadan families proliferated in North America. Their descendants still populate many communities in the eastern parts of both the United States and Canada. Some settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists, in the wake of the American War of Independence. Families on both sides of the border have recovered much of their heritage in the 20th century through Clan societies and highland games. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name MacMichael or a variant listed above:

MacMichael Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Miss L. MacMichael, aged 30, who landed in America, in 1895
  • Neal MacMichael, aged 68, who immigrated to the United States, in 1895
MacMichael Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Ethelwyn MacMichael, aged 27, who landed in America, in 1913
  • George MacMichael, aged 25, who immigrated to America from Liverpool, England, in 1923

Contemporary Notables of the name MacMichael (post 1700) +

  • David Charles MacMichael (1926-2022), American contract employee and whistleblower of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who served two years as an analyst
  • William Macmichael (1783-1839), English physician and medical biographer, best known as the author of The Gold-Headed Cane (1827)
  • Kevin Scott MacMichael (1951-2002), Canadian guitarist, songwriter and record producer, member of the his work with the Grammy Award nominated band Cutting Crew
  • Sir Harold Alfred MacMichael (1882-1969), British colonial administrator, Governor of Tanganyika (1934-1938), High Commissioner of Palestine (1938-1944)


  1. ^ Sims, Clifford Stanley The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames. 1862. 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)


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