Show ContentsMcNeel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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

Early Origins of the McNeel family

The surname McNeel 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 McNeel family

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

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

Early Notables of the McNeel family (pre 1700)

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 McNeel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McNeel Ranking

In the United States, the name McNeel is the 16,078th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1]

Ireland Migration of the McNeel family to Ireland

Some of the McNeel 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 McNeel migration to the United States +

Many of the ancestors of Dalriadan families who arrived in North America still live in communities along the east coast of Canada and the United States. In the American War of Independence many of the original settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the ancestors of many Scots began recovering their collective national heritage through Clan societies, highland games, and other patriotic events. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name McNeel or a variant listed above:

McNeel Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Archibald McNeel, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1772 [2]
  • Archibald McNeel, who arrived in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1773
McNeel Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Samuel McNeel, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1812 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name McNeel (post 1700) +

  • Robert McNeel, American CEO of Robert McNeel & Associates in 1980, best known for their 3D computer graphics software package named Rhinoceros 3D
  • Isaac McNeel, American businessman who built McNeel Mill, Pocahontas County, West Virginia in 1868 and was in operation until 1947; the mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 8, 1985
  • William McNeel, American politician, Member of West Virginia State Senate 8th District, 1881-84
  • Raymond McNeel, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Texas, 2000
  • Paul McNeel (1803-1872), American politician, Delegate to Virginia secession convention, 1861
  • N. C. McNeel, American politician, Member of West Virginia State Senate 8th District, 1897-1900
  • Archie McNeel (1882-1926), Australian rules footballer who played for Carlton in 1905

The McNeel 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) on Facebook