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Neilish History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms



The ancestors of the Neilish 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 Neilish family


The surname Neilish 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 Neilish family


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

Neilish Spelling Variations


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

Migration of the Neilish family to Ireland


Some of the Neilish 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 and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Neilish family to the New World and Oceana


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 Neilish or a variant listed above: Daniel Macneil, who arrived in Boston in 1652; James Macneil, who arrived in Boston in 1652; Daniel Macneele, who arrived in Maryland in 1674; Hector MacNeale, who arrived in Virginia in 1700.

The Neilish 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.


Neilish Family Crest Products



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