McNicolas History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The story of the McNicolas family stretches back through time to the Viking settlers who populated the rugged shores of Scotland in the Medieval era. The name McNicolas was derived from from the personal name, Nicholas. McNicolas is a patronymic surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. The surname McNicolas arose out of the religious naming tradition. In Christian countries, the name Nicholas was popular, owing to the legends surrounding the 4th century Lycian bishop of that name. In Catholic countries in particular, this religious figure was revered. This accounts for its popularity as a surname in Scotland. The name Nicholas came from the Greek, Nikolaos, which means conqueror of the people. In Scotland, the earliest bearers of the surname McNicolas lived on the Isle of Skye, which is located on the western coast.
Early Origins of the McNicolas family
The surname McNicolas was first found in on the Isle of Skye, where the first on record was Ottar Snaekollson who was the Chief of the MacNichols and attended the Council of Chiefs, held by MacDonald, Lord of the Isles, at Finlaggan on the Island of Islay about 1240. One of the first records of the name in Scotland was Maucolum fiz Nicol, who rendered homage to King Edward I of England in 1296 and the Nicholsons of Skye have Englished their name from Macnicol. 
Early History of the McNicolas family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McNicolas research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1263, 1500, 1607, 1645, 1718, 1694, 1718, 1655, 1727, 1655, 1728, 1694, 1698, 1698, 1705, 1713, 1720 and 1725 are included under the topic Early McNicolas History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
McNicolas Spelling Variations
Standards used to judge the accuracy of spellings and translations did not yet exist in the Middle Ages. Spelling variations in names dating from that era, are thus, an extremely common occurrence. McNicolas has been recorded as MacNichol, MacNicol, MacNicoll, Nicolson, Nicholson, MacNicholas, MacNickle, MacNickel, MacNickell, MacNiccol, MacNychole and many more.
Early Notables of the McNicolas family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the Clan from early times was James Nicolson (d. 1607), Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland & Bishop of Dunkeld; Thomas Joseph Nicolson (1645-1718), a Roman Catholic bishop, Vicar Apostolic of Scotland (1694-1718); William Nicolson (1655-1727)...
Another 41 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McNicolas Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the McNicolas family to Ireland
Some of the McNicolas family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the McNicolas family
The New World was far from the oppressive regime of the old country. It was a place where there was more land than people and political and religious freedom were far easier to come by. Many Scots even got the chance to fight for their freedom in the American War of Independence. In recent years, interest in this heritage has been generated by Clan societies and regular highland games in North America. An examination of early immigration and passenger lists has revealed many people bearing the McNicolas name: Samuel Nicolson, who settled in New Jersey in 1664 with his wife Anne; Angus, Ann, Archibald, Jean, John, Robert, McNicol, who all arrived in Wilmington NC in 1774.
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 Translation: By Generosity.
- 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)