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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Where did the Scottish McPhail family come from? What is the Scottish McPhail family crest and coat of arms? When did the McPhail family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the McPhail family history?

McPhail is an ancient Pictish-Scottish name. It is derived from the personal name Paul. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Phàil.

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Translation has done much to alter the appearance of many Scottish names. It was a haphazard process that lacked a basic system of rules. Spelling variations were a common result of this process. McPhail has appeared MacPhail, MacPhial, MacPhiel, MacFail, MacFall, MacFaul, MacVail, MacPhale, MacPail, MacPhaul, MacFale, Phail, Fayle and many more.

First found in Inverness, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McPhail research. Another 168 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1490 and 1533 are included under the topic Early McPhail History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early McPhail Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the McPhail family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 124 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many Scots left their country to travel to the North American colonies in search of the freedom they could not find at home. Of those who survived the difficult voyage, many found the freedom they so desired. There they could choose their own beliefs and allegiances. Some became United Empire Loyalists and others fought in the American War of Independence. The Clan societies and highland games that have sprung up in the last century have allowed many of these disparate Scots to recover their collective national identity. A search of immigration and passenger ship lists revealed many early settlers bearing the McPhail name:

McPhail Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • John McPhail and his wife Christie and three children, who arrived in New York in 1739
  • John McPhail, who landed in New York in 1739
  • Isabella McPhail, who landed in Cape Fear, North Carolina in 1772
  • Donald McPhail, aged 9, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775
  • Duncan McPhail, aged 3, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775


McPhail Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Angus McPhail, aged 25, arrived in Tennessee in 1812
  • James McPhail, who arrived in South Carolina in 1816

McPhail Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Angus McPhail, aged 41, a farmer, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Hercules"
  • Donald McPhail, aged 40, a shepherd, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Hercules"
  • Malcolm McPhail, aged 21, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Hercules"
  • Roderick McPhail, aged 36, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Hercules"
  • Ann McPhail, aged 18, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Hercules"


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  • Harold Thomas McPhail (1912-1977), American football fullback
  • Jerris Cornelius McPhail, former professional American football player
  • Addie McPhail (1905-2003), American film actress
  • Larry McPhail, retired American soccer forward
  • Andrew "Andy" McPhail, Scottish professional rugby league footballer
  • William "Billy" S. McPhail (1928-2003), Scottish football player
  • Robert Lowe "Bob" McPhail (1905-2000), Scottish internationalist professional association footballer
  • John McPhail (1923-2000), Scottish international football player
  • Christopher Campbell McPhail, Australian semi-professional ice hockey player
  • Tom McPhail, Canadian professor of media studies

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  1. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  2. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  5. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  6. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  9. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  10. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  11. ...

The McPhail Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The McPhail Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 7 December 2015 at 09:34.

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