McGale History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The McGale 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 McGale is derived from the Gaelic surname of Scottish origin, which means son of the battle chief.

Saint Gall (550?-645?), originally named Cellach or Caillech, was abbot and the apostle of the Suevi and the Alemanni, and appears to have been the son of Cethernach, an Irishman of noble lineage, of the sept of Hy-Cennsealach, his mother being, it is asserted, a queen of Hungary. [1]

The MacGall variant was later derived from the Gaelic Mac goill, or Mac an ghoill, 'stranger's son,' 'Lowlander.' [2]

The MacCall variant was from the Gaelic MacCathail, 'son of Cathal,' "the M'Calls of Guffokland were an old Nithsdale family. Robert M'Kawele, was Lord of Karsnelohe, c. 1370-1380." [2]

Early Origins of the McGale family

The surname McGale was first found in Argyllshire (Gaelic erra Ghaidheal), the region of western Scotland corresponding roughly with the ancient Kingdom of Dál Riata, in the Strathclyde region of Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Argyll and Bute, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

The Maccalls of Dumfriesshire were settled there as early as 1500, and are said to be descended from the Macaulays. John M'Call is recorded in Cumbray, 1583 (Hunter, p. 31). Matthew McCall in Maybole, charged with reset of rebels in 1607, appears a few days later as McEall (RPC., XIV p. 507). Quintigern Makcall, bailie of Edinburgh, 1610. [2]

Early History of the McGale family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGale research. Another 215 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1629, 1684, 1686, 1688, 1602 and are included under the topic Early McGale History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McGale Spelling Variations

Medieval translation of Gaelic names could not be referred to as an accurate process. Spelling was not yet standardized, and names in documents from that era are riddled with spelling variations. McGale has been written as MacAll, MacColl, MacCole, MacCall, MacAul, Mccall and others.

Early Notables of the McGale family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the McGale family to Ireland

Some of the McGale family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Canada McGale migration to Canada +

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 McGale or a variant listed above include:

McGale Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John McGale, aged 35 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "George" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in June 1847 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name McGale (post 1700) +

  • John McGale, Canadian musician and singer, best known for his work with Offenbach, a Canadian blues rock band
  • Francis McGale, British Labour representative for Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council in 2002, 2006 and 2010
  • Chris McGale (1923-2003), Canadian jazz and country swing violinist who worked with Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Don Messer, "Tennessee" Ernie Ford and Don Steele


  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 44)


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