Show ContentsNicoll History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Nicoll is one of the thousands of new names that the Norman Conquest of 1066 brought to England. 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 Nicoll family

The surname Nicoll 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 Nicoll family

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

Nicoll Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Nicholl, Niccolls, Nichel, Nichol, Nicholls, Nichols, Nickel, Nickle, Nickles, Nicolls, Nicol, Nycol, Nuckles and many more.

Early Notables of the Nicoll 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 Nicoll Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Nicoll Ranking

In the United States, the name Nicoll is the 15,724th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Nicoll family to Ireland

Some of the Nicoll 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 Nicoll migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Nicoll name or one of its variants:

Nicoll Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Matthias Nicoll, who landed in New York in 1664 [5]
  • John Nicoll, who arrived in New Jersey in 1685 [5]
Nicoll Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Stephen Nicoll, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1740 [5]
Nicoll Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Nicolas Nicoll, who arrived in Puerto Rico in 1821 [5]
  • R Nicoll, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • Jacob Nicoll, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1854 [5]
  • William Nicoll, who landed in California in 1876 [5]

Australia Nicoll migration to Australia +

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

Nicoll Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Nicoll, aged 52, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Osceola" [6]

New Zealand Nicoll 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:

Nicoll Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Nicoll, (b. 1822), aged 36, British sawyer travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indiana" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 28th November 1858 [7]
  • Thomas Nicoll, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alfred" in 1864 [8]
  • Agnes Nicoll, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alfred" in 1864 [8]
  • Grace Nicoll, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alfred" in 1864 [8]
  • Rev. Nicoll, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "James Nicol Fleming" arriving in Port Chalmers, Otago, New Zealand on 24th May 1874 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Nicoll (post 1700) +

  • De Lancey Nicoll (1854-1931), New York County District Attorney
  • Samuel B. Nicoll, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Suffolk County, 1843 [9]
  • John C. Nicoll, American politician, Mayor of Savannah, Georgia, 1836-37 [9]
  • John Nicoll, American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Wingham, 1897 [9]
  • Ione Nicoll (d. 1940), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1924; Delegate to New York convention to ratify 21st amendment, 1933 [9]
  • Henry Nicoll (1812-1879), American Democratic Party politician, U.S. Representative from New York 3rd District, 1847-49 [9]
  • Harry S. Nicoll, American Republican politician, Member of Massachusetts State House of Representatives Fifth Norfolk District, 1905 [9]
  • Frank C. Nicoll, American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Niagara Falls, 1944; Florence, 1944 [9]
  • Francis Nicoll, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly, 1791-93, 1795-96, 1799-1800; Member of New York State Senate Eastern District, 1796-98 [9]
  • DeLancey Nicoll, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1892, 1896; Delegate to New York State Constitutional Convention 7th District, 1894 [9]
  • ... (Another 12 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Nicoll 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. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. 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)
  6. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) OSCEOLA / ASCEOLA 1851. Retrieved
  7. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  8. Archives New Zealand Micro 5019. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Alfred. Retrieved from
  9. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from on Facebook