McCawley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the McCawley surname lived among the Boernician people of the Scottish/English Borderlands. McCawley is derived from the son of Amalghaidh, (an old Irish personal name). The distinguished name McCawley is derived from the Gaelic name MacAmhalghaidh and was generally found in Dumbartonshire. Alternatively, the name could have come from the Gaelic name MacAmhlaibh or MacAmhaidh, which means son of Amlaib and in this case, the name was originally derived from the Norse King Olafr. This latter branch was generally found in the Hebrides.

Early Origins of the McCawley family

The surname McCawley was first found in at Ardencaple, in Dumbartonshire. Ardencaple "cape of the horses," was the ancestral home of the Lairds of Ardencaple and is located on the shores of the Gare Loch, in the historical district of Lennox, county Dumbarton. They were one of the Clans of MacAlpine.

The history of the MacAulay Clan is particularly complex as there are two distinct branches, in addition to an infusion of MacAulays during the reign of Robert the Bruce. The name of Aulay, brother of the Earl of Lennox, is found on the Ragman Rolls, which confirms his pledge of allegiance to King Edward I of England. This branch entered into a bond of manrent with MacGregor of Glenstrae in 1591.

The second branch of this Clan is that of the MacAulays of the Isle of Lewis. These Clansmen claimed descent from Aula (Olaf the Black), who was a thirteenth-century king of the Isles. Their lands were traditional centered around Uig. This branch was probably related to the numerous MacAulays of Ross and Sutherland.

Finally, some members of a branch of the MacAulay Clann from Ireland were invited by Robert the Bruce to Scotland to help in his wars against the English. These last MacAulays may be ancient relatives to those of Ardincaple, Dumbartonshire. It was some while later that the MacAulays were first recognized as a Clan.

Early History of the McCawley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McCawley research. Another 54 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1595 and 1767 are included under the topic Early McCawley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McCawley Spelling Variations

Before the first dictionaries and printing presses went into use in the last few hundred years, spelling, particularly of names, was a largely intuitive matter. Consequently, many spelling variations occur in even the simplest names from the Middle Ages. McCawley has been spelled MacAuly, MacAwley, MacAuley, MacAullay, MacAulley, MacAwlay, MacCaulay, MacCawley, MacGawley, Magawley, Cauley, Caulay, McCamley and many more.

Early Notables of the McCawley family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was the 'MacCawlis' who appear on the roll of Broken Clans in 1595. Their fortunes fell, the last of their lands of...
Another 29 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McCawley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the McCawley family to Ireland

Some of the McCawley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 59 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 McCawley migration to the United States +

The east coasts of the United States and Canada are still populated by many of the descendents of the Boernician-Scottish families who made that great crossing. They distributed themselves evenly when they first arrived, but at the time of the War of Independence those who remained loyal to England went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. This century, many of their ancestors have recovered their past heritage through highland games and other Scottish functions in North America. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that many immigrants bearing the name McCawley or a variant listed above:

McCawley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John McCawley, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [1]
  • Neal McCawley, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [1]
McCawley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Daniel McCawley, aged 31, who arrived in Missouri in 1848 [1]
  • Thomas McCawley, who arrived in Arkansas in 1885 [1]

Canada McCawley migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McCawley Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Patrick McCawley, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1838

Australia McCawley migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

McCawley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

New Zealand McCawley migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

McCawley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Mccawley, British settler, as the 2nd Detachment of New Zealand Corps of Royal New Zealand Fencibles travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Minerva" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th October 1847 [4]
  • Mr. James McCawley, (b. 1949), aged 27, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Pomona" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 14th April 1876 [5]
  • Mrs. Bridget McCawley, (b. 1953), aged 23, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Pomona" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 14th April 1876 [5]
  • Miss Mary Maria McCawley, (b. 1875), aged 9 months, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Pomona" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 14th April 1876 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name McCawley (post 1700) +

  • Charles Laurie McCawley (1865-1935), American officer who served in the Spanish-American War and World War I, one of 23 Marine Corps officers awarded the Marine Corps Brevet Medal for bravery
  • Jim McCawley (1942-1997), American Emmy Award winning screenwriter and former television producer of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
  • James David McCawley (1938-1999), Scottish-born, American linguist
  • Charles Grymes McCawley (1827-1891), American officer, the eighth Commandant of the Marine Corps, eponym of two ships: USS McCawley (DD-276), a Clemson-class destroyer, and the USS McCawley (APA-4), a transport
  • Deborah J. McCawley Q.C., Canadian justice, judge of the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba
  • Leon McCawley (b. 1973), British classical pianist
  • Thomas William McCawley (1881-1925), Australian Chief Justice of Queensland

RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Thomas W. McCawley (d. 1912), aged 36, English Gymnasium Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [6]

The McCawley 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: Dulce Periculum
Motto Translation: Danger is sweet

  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)
  2. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th October 2020). Retrieved from
  3. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 30th May 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) John Banks 1855. Retrieved
  4. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  6. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook