Show ContentsMcNeal History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The age-old Hebrides islands and the west coast of Scotland are the ancestral home of the McNeal family. Their name comes from the personal name Neil. The Gaelic form Mac Neill translates as son of Neil.

Early Origins of the McNeal family

The surname McNeal was first found in on the islands of Barra, Gigha, Colonsay, and Oronsay. According to traditional records in 1049, Niall, a direct descendent of King Niall of the Nine Hostages, landed in Barra and founded the Clan MacNeill of Barra.

However, another kinsman, some believe to be the younger brother of Niall named Anrothan, married a Princess of the Dalriadans, an ancient race from which sprang most of the early Scottish Kings. Legend has it that Anrothan started the MacNeill house of Colonsay through his son Torquil of Taynish.

This latter branch acquired the lands of Gigha, Colonsay and Oronsay, beyond the Firth of Lorne. For the next two centuries it appears as though these two great houses were developing independently of one another.

Early History of the McNeal family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McNeal research. Another 361 words (26 lines of text) covering the years 1370, 1380, 1526, 1562, 1590, 1612, 1613, 1631, 1640, 1686, 1730 and 1890 are included under the topic Early McNeal History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McNeal 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, McNeal has been spelled MacNeil, MacNeill, MacNeal, MacNeilage, MacNeale, MacNeall, MacNeille, MacNeel, MacNiel, MacGreal, Mcneil, Mcneill, McNeal, Mcneal, Mcneall and many more.

Early Notables of the McNeal family

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Nigel M'Nele, Laird of Blarekanne c. 1370-1380; Alexander Makneyll, a notary public in Edinburgh in 1526; Richard Neile (1562-1640) was an English churchman, Archbishop...
Another 32 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McNeal Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McNeal Ranking

In the United States, the name McNeal is the 1,379th most popular surname with an estimated 22,383 people with that name. [1]

Ireland Migration of the McNeal family to Ireland

Some of the McNeal family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 85 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States McNeal migration to the United States +

Scottish settlers arrived in many of the communities that became the backbones of the United States and Canada. Many stayed, but some headed west for the endless open country of the prairies. In the American War of Independence, many Scots who remained loyal to England re-settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Scots across North America were able to recover much of their lost heritage in the 20th century as Clan societies and highland games sprang up across North America. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first McNeals to arrive on North American shores:

McNeal Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Arthur McNeal, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [2]
  • Captain McNeal, who arrived in Boston in 1764
  • Charles McNeal, who arrived in New York in 1797 [2]
McNeal Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas McNeal, aged 25, who arrived in New York in 1812 [2]
  • John McNeal, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1820 [2]
  • Henry C McNeal, who landed in Texas in 1835 [2]
  • Miss Ann Mcneal, aged 24, Scottish settler who arrived in New York aboard the ship "Cynosure" in 1863
  • James McNeal, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1870 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada McNeal migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McNeal Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John 1 McNeal U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1784 [3]
McNeal Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William McNeal, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Daniel O'Connell" in 1834

New Zealand McNeal 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:

McNeal Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas McNeal, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Flying Mist" arriving in Bluff, South Island, New Zealand on 25th August 1862, the boat sank whilst waiting in port. [4]
  • Agnes McNeal, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blairgowrie" in 1875

Contemporary Notables of the name McNeal (post 1700) +

  • Clyde Clifton "Junior" McNeal (1928-1996), American professional baseball shortstop in the Negro Leagues
  • John Harley "Harry" McNeal (1878-1945), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Cleveland Bluebirds during the 1901 season
  • Lutricia McNeal (b. 1973), American R&B/pop singer
  • Bryant McNeal (b. 1979), American NFL defensive end
  • Don McNeal (b. 1958), former American professional NFL football player
  • Reginald "Reggie" Parrish McNeal (b. 1983), American-born, Canadian Football League (CFL) quarterback
  • Robert Hatch McNeal (b. 1930), American historian and author
  • J. W. McNeal, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Oklahoma Territory, 1900; Candidate for Governor of Oklahoma, 1910
  • Geneva G. McNeal, American Republican politician, Member of Michigan Republican State Central Committee, 1949; Candidate for Michigan State Senate 2nd District, 1952
  • Clark H. McNeal, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Iowa, 1948; Member of Iowa State House of Representatives from Wright County
  • ... (Another 10 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The McNeal 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: Vincere vel mori
Motto Translation: To conquer or die.

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. 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)
  3. 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
  4. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from on Facebook