McDonell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The McDonell family history stretches back to the clans of the Dalriadan kingdom on the sea-swept Hebrides islands and mountainous western coast of Scotland. The name McDonell is derived from the personal name Donald. the surname is derived from the Gaelic Mac Dhomhnuill, which means son of Donald; it is a form of the surname MacDonald.

Early Origins of the McDonell family

The surname McDonell was first found in Inverness, where the origins of this name can be traced back to Somerled, Regulus of the Isles, who evicted the Norsemen from the Western Isles during the 12th century. From him is descended John Macdonald, first Lord of the Isles, and it was MacDonald's younger son, Ranald, who was the progenitor of Clanrald, which includes the families of Moidart, Morar, Knoidart and Glengarry. The MacDonells are from this last branch. It is from Ranald's son, Donald, that the MacDonell's take their name (Son of Donald). There is also a branch of the MacDonells that claim Ranald's other son, Alistair, as its progenitor (the Keppoch branch).

Important Dates for the McDonell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McDonell research. Another 376 words (27 lines of text) covering the years 1411, 1575, 1672, 1647, 1745, 1749, 1794, 1812 and 1790 are included under the topic Early McDonell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McDonell Spelling Variations

Spelling in the medieval era was a highly imprecise process. Translation, particularly from Gaelic to English, was little better. For these reasons, early Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. In various documents McDonell has been spelled MacDonnell, MacDonnel, McDonnell, MacDonell and others.

Early Notables of the McDonell family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the McDonell family to Ireland

Some of the McDonell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 118 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McDonell migration to the United States

Settlers from Scotland put down roots in communities all along the east coast of North America. Some moved north from the American colonies to Canada as United Empire Loyalists during the American War of Independence. As Clan societies and highland games started in North America in the 20th century many Scots rediscovered parts of their heritage. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name McDonell were among those contributors:

McDonell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Alexander McDonell, who landed in New York in 1776 [1]
McDonell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Patt McDonell, aged 31, who arrived in New York, NY in 1805 [1]
  • Arthur McDonell, who arrived in Tippecanoe County, Ind in 1839 [1]

McDonell migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McDonell Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Donald McDonell U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [2]
  • Mr. Donald McDonell U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1784 [2]
  • Corpl. Donald McDonell U.E., (Donald Bog) who settled in Charlottenburgh [South Glengarry], Ontario c. 1784 [2]
  • Mr. Duncan McDonell U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [2]
  • Mr. Duncan McDonell U.E. who settled in Riviere aux Raisin [Raisin River], Cornwall, Ontario c. 1784 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
McDonell Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Cath McDonell, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1801
  • Catherine McDonell, who arrived in Canada in 1815
  • Calla McDonell, who landed in Canada in 1815
  • Angus McDonell, who arrived in Canada in 1815
  • Jeannet McDonell, who landed in Canada in 1815
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

McDonell migration to Australia

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

McDonell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Daniel McDonell, aged 30, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Constance" [3]
  • James McDonell, aged 23, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Constance" [3]
  • Ellen McDonell, aged 18, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Aliquis"
  • John McDonell, aged 21, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Victoria Regia"

McDonell 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:

McDonell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • F.D. McDonell, aged 44, a farmer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Douglas" in 1873
  • Mary McDonell, aged 37, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Douglas" in 1873
  • Mr. Ewan McDonell, (b. 1847), aged 28, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Peter Denny" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 25th November 1875 [4]
  • Mrs. McDonell, (b. 1846), aged 29, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Peter Denny" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 25th November 1875 [4]
  • Miss Ann McDonell, (b. 1852), aged 23, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Peter Denny" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 25th November 1875 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name McDonell (post 1700)

  • Robert Terry McDonell (b. 1944), American editor of Sports Illustrated Group
  • Robert Nicholas "Nick" McDonell (b. 1984), American writer, best known for his work Twelve which he wrote at the age of 17
  • William Fraser McDonell VC (1829-1894), English recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Harold Clark McDonell (1882-1965), English cricketer
  • Kent McDonell (b. 1979), Canadian professional ice hockey player
  • Captain John McDonell (1758-1809), Canadian soldier, judge and political figure in Upper Canada

Citations

  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. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CONSTANCE 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850Constance.htm
  4. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
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