MacNicell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Viking settlers in ancient Scotland were the ancestors of the first people to use the name MacNicell. It comes from from the personal name, Nicholas. MacNicell is a patronymic surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. The surname MacNicell arose out of the religious naming tradition. In Christian countries, the name Nicholas was popular, owing to the legends surrounding the 4th century Lycian bishop of that name. In Catholic countries in particular, this religious figure was revered. This accounts for its popularity as a surname in Scotland. The name Nicholas came from the Greek, Nikolaos, which means conqueror of the people. In Scotland, the earliest bearers of the surname MacNicell lived on the Isle of Skye, which is located on the western coast.
Early Origins of the MacNicell family
The surname MacNicell was first found in on the Isle of Skye, where the first on record was Ottar Snaekollson who was the Chief of the MacNichols and attended the Council of Chiefs, held by MacDonald, Lord of the Isles, at Finlaggan on the Island of Islay about 1240. One of the first records of the name in Scotland was Maucolum fiz Nicol, who rendered homage to King Edward I of England in 1296 and the Nicholsons of Skye have Englished their name from Macnicol. 
Early History of the MacNicell family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacNicell research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1263, 1500, 1607, 1645, 1718, 1694, 1718, 1655, 1727, 1655, 1728, 1694, 1698, 1698, 1705, 1713, 1720 and 1725 are included under the topic Early MacNicell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacNicell Spelling Variations
Translation and spelling were non-standardized practices in the Middle Ages, so scribes had only their ears to rely on. This was a practice of extremely limited efficiency, and spelling variations in names, even within a single document, were the result. Over the years, MacNicell has appeared MacNichol, MacNicol, MacNicoll, Nicolson, Nicholson, MacNicholas, MacNickle, MacNickel, MacNickell, MacNiccol, MacNychole and many more.
Early Notables of the MacNicell family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the Clan from early times was James Nicolson (d. 1607), Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland & Bishop of Dunkeld; Thomas Joseph Nicolson (1645-1718), a Roman Catholic bishop, Vicar Apostolic of Scotland (1694-1718); William Nicolson (1655-1727)...
Another 41 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacNicell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the MacNicell family to Ireland
Some of the MacNicell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the MacNicell family
The fertile east coast of what would become US and Canada was soon dotted with the farms of Scottish settlers. Some of them remained faithful to the crown and called themselves United Empire Loyalists, while others had the chance to pay back their old oppressors in the American War of Independence. That brave spirit lives on today in the highland games that dot North America in the summer. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the MacNicell family came to North America quite early: Samuel Nicolson, who settled in New Jersey in 1664 with his wife Anne; Angus, Ann, Archibald, Jean, John, Robert, McNicol, who all arrived in Wilmington NC in 1774.
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The MacNicell 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 Translation: By Generosity.
- ^ 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)