Show ContentsMcPhall History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Picts of ancient Scotland were the tribe of the ancestors of the McPhall family. The name McPhall is derived from the personal name Paul. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Phàil. [1]

Another source notes the name is from "Mac Phail, ‘Paul's Son'. Phail is Anglicised from Maelfabhaill. ‘Maelfabhaill, son of Muircheartach, slain by the Norsemen'. " [2]

Early Origins of the McPhall family

The surname McPhall was first found in Inverness, where one of the first records was of Gillemore M'Phale who was one of an inquest at Inverness in 1414. [3]

From this earliest record, spellings were frequently changed. "Donald M'Pawle witnessed an indenture between Doncan Makyntosche and Huchone the Rois, Baron of Kylraok, 1490, and Donald Makfaill and Gylleis Makfaill were witnesses to a contract of friendship between Dunbar of Westfield and the Clanchattan, 1492. Finlay MacChaell, bailie of Rothesay, 1501, appears in 1503 as Macfaill, and again in 1506 as Makcaill, under which name he received a grant of a third of the lands of Dunallirde in Bute. The lands of Dulatyr in the lordship of Petty were let to Gilleis McFale in 1504. Sir John Mcfaell, a Pope's knight, who witnessed a bond of manrent in 1533, is possibly D John M'Fale who witnessed a charter relating to the church of Lindichty, 1535, and in 1538 appears as rector of the church." [3]

Early History of the McPhall family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McPhall research. Another 420 words (30 lines of text) covering the years 1411, 1481, 1490, 1502, 1510, 1533, 1547, 1548, 1557, 1575, 1578, 1579, 1583, 1588, 1589, 1603, 1618, 1670, 1671, 1678, 1684, 1686, 1692, 1699, 1706, 1711, 1736, 1754, 1785, 1786, 1794, 1805 and 1890 are included under the topic Early McPhall History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McPhall Spelling Variations

Before the first dictionaries appeared in the last few hundred years, scribes spelled according to sound. spelling variations are common among Scottish names. McPhall has been spelled MacPhail, MacPhial, MacPhiel, MacFail, MacFall, MacFaul, MacVail, MacPhale, MacPail, MacPhaul, MacFale, Phail, Fayle and many more.

Early Notables of the McPhall family

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was James MacPhail (fl. 1786-1805), gardener, the son of a highland peasant, born in Aberdeenshire in 1754. In his seventeenth year he obtained employment as a farm labourer. 'I ate and drank,' he says, 'at the same table as my master and mistress, for I was the only servant or labourer they kept' (Hints and Observations on the Improvement of...
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McPhall Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the McPhall family to Ireland

Some of the McPhall family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 77 words (6 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 McPhall family

In those unstable times, many had no choice but to leave their beloved homelands. Sickness and poverty hounded travelers to North America, but those who made it were welcomed with land and opportunity. These settlers gave the young nations of Canada and the United States a strong backbone as they stood up for their beliefs as United Empire Loyalists and in the American War of Independence. In this century, the ancestors of these brave Scots have begun to recover their illustrious heritage through Clan societies and other heritage organizations. Early passenger and immigration lists reveal many Scottish settlers bearing the name McPhall: Patrick McPail, who settled in Philadelphia in 1860; John McPhail and his wife Christie and three children, who arrived in New York in 1739; Alexander, Donald, Duncan, Jean, John, and Will McPhail, who all arrived in Philadelphia in 1775.



  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. Moore, A.W., Manx Names. London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1906. Print
  3. 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)


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