McNeile History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Clan from whom the McNeile family descends began among the ancient Dalriadan kingdom of the west coast of Scotland. Their name comes from the personal name Neil. The Gaelic form Mac Neill translates as son of Neil.

Early Origins of the McNeile family

The surname McNeile 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 McNeile family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McNeile 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 McNeile History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McNeile Spelling Variations

Historical recordings of the name McNeile include many spelling variations. They are the result of repeated translations of the name from Gaelic to English and inconsistencies in spelling rules. They include MacNeil, MacNeill, MacNeal, MacNeilage, MacNeale, MacNeall, MacNeille, MacNeel, MacNiel, MacGreal, Mcneil, Mcneill, McNeal, Mcneal, Mcneall and many more.

Early Notables of the McNeile 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 McNeile Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the McNeile family to Ireland

Some of the McNeile 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 McNeile migration to the United States +

Significant portions of the populations of both the United States and Canada are still made up of the ancestors of Dalriadan families. Some of those in Canada originally settled the United States, but went north as United Empire Loyalists in the American War of Independence. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw the ancestors of many Scots on both sides of the border begin to recover their collective national heritage through Clan societies and highland games. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

McNeile Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Henry McNeile, who landed in Arkansas in 1844 [1]

Australia McNeile migration to Australia +

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

McNeile Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Margaret McNeile, (b. 1841), aged 22, Irish settler travelling from Queenstown, Ireland aboard the ship "Golden Empire" arriving in Brisbane, Australia in July 1863 [2]
  • Mr. Arthur McNeile, (b. 1840), aged 23, Irish labourer travelling from Queenstown, Ireland aboard the ship "Golden Empire" arriving in Brisbane, Australia in July 1863 [2]
  • Mr. Owen McNeile, (b. 1838), aged 25, Irish labourer travelling from Queenstown, Ireland aboard the ship "Golden Empire" arriving in Brisbane, Australia in July 1863 [2]
  • Mrs. Elizabeth McNeile, (b. 1842), aged 21, Irish settler travelling from Queenstown, Ireland aboard the ship "Golden Empire" arriving in Brisbane, Australia in July 1863 [2]
  • Mr. Henry McNeile, (b. 1844), aged 19, Irish labourer travelling from Queenstown, Ireland aboard the ship "Golden Empire" arriving in Brisbane, Australia in July 1863 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name McNeile (post 1700) +

  • Ethel Rhoda McNeile (1875-1922), British missionary and headmistress from London
  • S.St.C. McNeile, British surveyor at the FIDS Hope Bay base in 1948–1949, eponym of McNeile Glacier, on the west side of Graham Land, Antarctica
  • Herman Cyril "H.C." McNeile MC (1888-1937), known as Cyril McNeile, or the pseudonym Sapper, a British soldier and author of wartime short stories about the trenches during the First World War, he was given the pen name "Sapper" by Lord Northcliffe, the owner of the Daily Mail


The McNeile 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. ^ 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. ^ The Ships List Passenger Lists Ship Golden Empire (Retrieved 26th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.ozlists.com/genies/shipping/special_lists/s_golden_empire.htm


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