Show ContentsMcCoul History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The age-old Hebrides islands and the west coast of Scotland are the ancestral home of the McCoul family. Their name comes from the personal name Somhairle, also known as Somerled. The Gaelic form of the name, Mac Somhairle, translates as son of Somhairle or son of Somerled.

Early Origins of the McCoul family

The surname McCoul was first found in Argyllshire where the Gaelic MacSomhairle 'son of Somhairle, ' or Somerled, Alexander M'Sommarrli was cited in 1355 to give evidence regarding the lands of Glassrie. "He was probably a Lamont of Monydrain in Glassrie as some of this family used the name Macsorley for several generations, but eventually resumed the name Lamont. The lands of Donald Machorle in the sheriffdom of Argyll were in ward, 1488. Other spellings of this Donald's name are McChorle, 1449, and McCowirlee, 1451. In 1511 Angus Lawmont alias M'Quorle was infeft in the three merk lands of Achynchoys. " 1

"The MacSoirles of Letterfinlay in Lochaber, later called a sept of Clan Cameron, descended from Somerled, armiger to John of Yla, earl of Ross and lord of the Isles. In 1456 Somerled, the son of John, son of Somerled the armiger, received from the lord of the Isles a davoch of the lands of Glennyves along with the office of toscheachdeora (crowner) of all the lands of John of Yla, except the lands pertaining to his foster-child, Lachlan Maclean of Doward. Some writers on Clan history make the Macsorleys a sept of Clan Cameron, but this Somerled had received his charter thirty six years before the Camerons of Lochiel are known to have had any connection with the district." 1

Early History of the McCoul family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McCoul research. Another 312 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1211, 1258, 1524, 1530, 1563, 1571, 1577, 1600, 1603, 1615, 1616, 1632, 1647, 1649, 1664, 1672, 1675, 1716, 1795, 1850 and 1890 are included under the topic Early McCoul History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McCoul Spelling Variations

Medieval spelling was at best an intuitive process, and translation between Gaelic and English was no more effective. These factors caused an enormous number of spelling variations in Dalriadan names. In fact, it was not uncommon to see a father and son who spelled their name differently. Over the years, McCoul has been spelled MacSorley, MacSorely, MacSourly, MacCoullie, MacSorrill, MacSorrell, MacSurley and many more.

Early Notables of the McCoul family

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

Ireland Migration of the McCoul family to Ireland

Some of the McCoul family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 270 words (19 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Australia McCoul migration to Australia +

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

McCoul Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. David McCoul, Scottish convict who was convicted in Perth, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 25th June 1838, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) 2

The McCoul 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: Per mare per terras
Motto Translation: By sea and by land.

  1. 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)
  2. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th March 2021). Retrieved from on Facebook