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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: Irish, Scottish

The Dalriadan clans of ancient Scotland spawned the ancestors of the Mealey family. Their name comes from the personal name Neil. The Gaelic form Mac Neill translates as son of Neil.


The surname Mealey 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.

The medieval practice of spelling according to sound and repeated translation between Gaelic and English created many spelling variations of the same name. Mealey has been recorded as MacNeil, MacNeill, MacNeal, MacNeilage, MacNeale, MacNeall, MacNeille, MacNeel, MacNiel, MacGreal, Mcneil, Mcneill, McNeal, Mcneal, Mcneall and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mealey research. Another 721 words (52 lines of text) covering the years 1590, 1730, 1370, 1380, 1526, 1562, 1640, 1631, 1640, 1612, 1613 and 1686 are included under the topic Early Mealey History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 111 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Mealey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Mealey family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 157 words (11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Descendents of Dalriadan-Scottish families still populate many communities across North America. They are particularly common in Canada, since many went north as United Empire Loyalists at the time of the American War of Independence. Much later, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the highland games and Clan societies that now dot North America sprang up, allowing many Scots to recover their lost national heritage. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Mealey, or a variant listed above:

Mealey Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Alice Mealey, who arrived in Virginia in 1706

Mealey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Ann Mealey, aged 23, landed in New York in 1854
  • Martin Mealey, aged 23, arrived in New York in 1854
  • Tom Mealey, who landed in New York in 1854
  • M Mealey, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1860

Mealey Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Catherine Mealey, aged 28, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Fortune"


  • Rondell Christopher Mealey (b. 1977), former American NFL football running back
  • T. G. Mealey, American Democrat politician, Member of Minnesota State House of Representatives 32nd District, 1873; Member of Minnesota State Senate 32nd District, 1874-75, 1878-79
  • Stephen R. Mealey, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1928
  • S. J. Mealey, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Minnesota, 1916 (Honorary Vice-President)
  • P. Mealey, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Louisiana, 1884
  • Natasha Mealey (b. 1982), English glamour model
  • Phil Mealey, British actor and writer, winner of two North West Comedy Awards (2005)


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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  1. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  2. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  3. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  4. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  5. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  6. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  7. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  8. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  9. 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).
  10. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  11. ...

The Mealey Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Mealey 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 4 November 2015 at 10:02.

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