Nicol History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Nicol was brought to England by the Normans when they conquered the country in 1066. It comes from the given name Nicholas. Nicholas derives from the Greek Nikolaos, which is made up of the words nikan, meaning to conquer, and laos, meaning people. [1]

Early Origins of the Nicol family

The surname Nicol was first found in Cheshire, where Nicholas D'Albini, who was of the junior line of the Dukes of D'Albini in Normandy, settled in 1054, and his successor William became Baron of Malpas. Waleram Nicholai was listed in Suffolk in 1198 and Nicholaus was listed in Lincolnshire in 1147-1166. [1] By the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, the name was scattered as seen by: William filius Nicoll in Shropshire; and John Nicole and Stephen Nichole in Oxfordshire. [2]

Some of the family were anciently found in the parish of St. Kew, Cornwall. "Trewane or Trewarne in this parish, was formerly a seat of the Nicholls family. The heiress of Nicholls, whose mother was a daughter of Sir Joseph Tredenham of Tregonan in St. Ewe, married Nicholas Glynn, Esq. and dying in 1771 without surviving issue, bequeathed her mansion and barton of Trewane to Thomas Glynn, Esq. of the borough of Helston." [3]

Continuing our quest for family in Cornwall, we found this interesting geneological record: "Trereife [in the parish of Madern] has been the family estate of the Nicholls's from time immemorial. Dr. Nicholls, physician to George II. who opened the body of the king for the purpose of ascertaining the cause of his death, which he described in a paper addressed to the Royal Society, was second son of John Nicholls. This family intermarried with the families of Godolphin and Foote. William John Godolphin Nicholls, Esq. the last survivor of the elder branch of the family, died May 9, 1815, and bequeathed all his estates to his mother." [3]

Early History of the Nicol family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nicol research. Another 83 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1307, 1500, 1542, 1658, 1678, 1550, 1589, 1555, 1584, 1559, 1616, 1590, 1668, 1587, 1642, 1619, 1683, 1624, 1672, 1630, 1687, 1672, 1673, 1699, 1778, 1681, 1727, 1727, 1658, 1640, 1640, 1648, 1664, 1712, 1756, 1850, 1779 and 1818 are included under the topic Early Nicol History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Nicol Spelling Variations

Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Nicol family name include Nicholl, Niccolls, Nichel, Nichol, Nicholls, Nichols, Nickel, Nickle, Nickles, Nicolls, Nicol, Nycol, Nuckles and many more.

Early Notables of the Nicol family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Blessed George Nichols (c. 1550-1589), an English Catholic martyr; John Nicholls (1555-1584), a controversial author; Sir Augustine Nicolls (1559-1616), a judge; John Nicoll (c.1590-1668), a Scottish chronicler; Sir Francis Nicolls, 1st Baronet (c. 1587-1642), Member of Parliament for Bishop's Castle and Northamptonshire; Sir Edward Nicolls, 2nd Baronet (c. 1619-1683); Richard Nicolls (1624-1672), the first English colonial governor of New York province; Matthias Nicoll (1630-1687), American politician, 6th Mayor of New York City...
Another 79 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nicol Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Nicol family to Ireland

Some of the Nicol family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 129 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Nicol migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Nicol family to immigrate North America:

Nicol Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Nicol, who arrived in New Jersey in 1685 [4]
Nicol Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Johanees Nicol, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1739 [4]
  • Johannes Nicol, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1739
Nicol Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Nicol, aged 26, who landed in New York, NY in 1822 [4]
  • James Nicol, aged 23, who arrived in Missouri in 1848 [4]
  • William Nicol, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1853 [4]
  • Georg Heinr Nicol, who arrived in America in 1854 [4]
  • Henry Nicol, who landed in St Clair County, III in 1857 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Nicol migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Nicol Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William Nicol, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1815
  • William Nicol, aged 40, who landed in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1815-1816
  • Catherine Nicol, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Perseus" in 1834

Australia Nicol migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Nicol Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Peter Nicol, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Buckinghamshire" in 1839 [5]
  • John Nicol, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Platina" in 1839 [6]
  • Isabella Nicol, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Platina" in 1839 [6]
  • John Nicol, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duncan" in 1849 [7]
  • John Nicol, aged 30, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Nugget" [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Nicol migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Nicol Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Charles Nicol, aged 25, a milwright, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Fifeshire" in 1842
  • Ann Nicol, aged 27, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Fifeshire" in 1842
  • Margaret Nicol, aged 11 mths., who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Fifeshire" in 1842
  • James F. Nicol, aged 35, a labourer, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mariner" in 1849
  • Elizabeth Nicol, aged 31, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mariner" in 1849
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Nicol (post 1700) +

  • Hugh N. Nicol (1858-1921), Scottish-born, American Major League Baseball player who played from 1881 to 1890
  • Alexander Livingston "Alex" Nicol Jr. (1916-2001), American actor and director who appeared in many Westerns including The Man from Laramie (1955), Daniel Boone (1966) and The Wild Wild West (1967)
  • William M. Nicol, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for New York State Assembly from Kings County 10th District, 1919 [9]
  • Jessie R. Nicol, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1924 [9]
  • Henry G. Nicol, American Republican politician, Circuit Judge in Michigan 3rd Circuit, 1936-41; Defeated, 1941, 1947 [9]
  • Frank D. Nicol, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 17th District, 1883-85 [9]
  • Donna K. Nicol, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 1996 [9]
  • Alex L. Nicol (b. 1895), American politician, Member of Wisconsin State Assembly from Monroe County, 1939-50 [9]
  • Simon John Breckenridge Nicol (b. 1950), English guitarist, singer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer, founding member of British folk rock group Fairport Convention
  • Olive Mary Wendy Nicol (1923-2018), Baroness Nicol, née Rowe-Hunter, a British Labour Co-operative politician
  • ... (Another 19 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMAS Sydney II


The Nicol 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: Fide sed cui vide
Motto Translation: Trust, but in whom take care.


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  4. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BUCKINGHAMSHIRE 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Buckinghamshire.htm
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PLATINA 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Platina.htm
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The DUNCAN 1849 . Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Duncan.htm
  8. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 4th July 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Nugget 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/nugget1854.shtml.
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  10. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp


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