Show ContentsMacNeal History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The western coast of Scotland and the desolate Hebrides islands are the ancient home of the MacNeal family. Their name is derived from the personal name Neil. The Gaelic form Mac Neill translates as son of Neil.

Early Origins of the MacNeal family

The surname MacNeal was first found in on the islands of Barra, Gigha, Colonsay, and Oronsay. According to traditional records in 1049, Niall, a direct descendent of King Niall of the Nine Hostages, landed in Barra and founded the Clan MacNeill of Barra.

However, another kinsman, some believe to be the younger brother of Niall named Anrothan, married a Princess of the Dalriadans, an ancient race from which sprang most of the early Scottish Kings. Legend has it that Anrothan started the MacNeill house of Colonsay through his son Torquil of Taynish.

This latter branch acquired the lands of Gigha, Colonsay and Oronsay, beyond the Firth of Lorne. For the next two centuries it appears as though these two great houses were developing independently of one another.

Early History of the MacNeal family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacNeal research. Another 361 words (26 lines of text) covering the years 1590, 1730, 1370, 1380, 1526, 1562, 1640, 1631, 1640, 1612, 1613, 1686 and are included under the topic Early MacNeal History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacNeal 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. MacNeal has appeared in various documents spelled MacNeil, MacNeill, MacNeal, MacNeilage, MacNeale, MacNeall, MacNeille, MacNeel, MacNiel, MacGreal, Mcneil, Mcneill, McNeal, Mcneal, Mcneall and many more.

Early Notables of the MacNeal family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Nigel M'Nele, Laird of Blarekanne c. 1370-1380; Alexander Makneyll, a notary public in Edinburgh in 1526; Richard Neile (1562-1640) was an English churchman, Archbishop...
Another 32 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacNeal Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the MacNeal family to Ireland

Some of the MacNeal family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 85 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 MacNeal 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 MacNeal or a variant listed above include:

MacNeal Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Daniel Macneal, who arrived in Maryland in 1731
MacNeal Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Frank MacNeal, who landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1811 [1]
  • Roger MacNeal, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1811 [1]
MacNeal Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • P.H. MacNeal, who immigrated to the United States, in 1904
  • Mrs. H.C. MacNeal, who landed in America, in 1904
  • Harriet B. MacNeal, aged 24, who immigrated to the United States, in 1912
  • John MacNeal, aged 26, who immigrated to the United States, in 1920
  • John MacNeal, aged 26, who landed in America, in 1921
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name MacNeal (post 1700) +

  • Noel MacNeal (b. 1961), American Daytime Emmy Award nominated actor, known for The Puzzle Place (1994), Old Dogs (2009) and Elmo Saves Christmas (1996)
  • Catherine MacNeal, American actress, known for Blue Jasmine (2013), Days of Our Lives (1965) and 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd (1999)
  • Dr Richard H. MacNeal, American co-founder of MSC Software Corporation, an American software company based in Newport Beach, California in 1963
  • Harry L. MacNeal (1875-1950), United States Marine, recipient of the Medal of Honor
  • Noel MacNeal (b. 1961), American puppeteer, writer, and director of children's television
  • Archibald MacNeal Willard (1836-1918), American painter from Bedford, Ohio

The MacNeal 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: Vincere vel mori
Motto Translation: To conquer or die.

  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) on Facebook