McNellis History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the McNellis family come from the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. The family name comes from the personal name Neil. The Gaelic form Mac Neill translates as son of Neil.

Early Origins of the McNellis family

The surname McNellis 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 McNellis family

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

McNellis Spelling Variations

Historical recordings of the name McNellis 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 McNellis 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 McNellis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the McNellis family to Ireland

Some of the McNellis 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 McNellis migration to the United States +

Dalriadan families proliferated in North America. Their descendants still populate many communities in the eastern parts of both the United States and Canada. Some settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists, in the wake of the American War of Independence. Families on both sides of the border have recovered much of their heritage in the 20th century through Clan societies and highland games. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name McNellis or a variant listed above:

McNellis Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mary McNellis, who landed in America, in 1892
  • Mary McNellis, aged 19, who immigrated to the United States from Donegal, in 1892
  • Maggie McNellis, aged 4, who immigrated to America, in 1896
  • Edward McNellis, aged 19, who settled in America, in 1896
  • Patk. McNellis, aged 21, who settled in America from Glasgow, in 1898
McNellis Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Patrick McNellis, aged 26, who immigrated to the United States from Donegal, in 1901
  • Sarah McNellis, aged 20, who settled in America from Donegal, in 1901
  • William McNellis, aged 24, who immigrated to America from Clogher, in 1903
  • Susie McNellis, aged 30, who immigrated to the United States from Donegal, in 1904
  • Harriet McNellis, aged 40, who immigrated to the United States, in 1906
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The McNellis 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.


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