The west coast of Scotland
and the rocky Hebrides
islands are the ancient home of the Nyell family. The root of their name is the personal name Neil.
The Gaelic form Mac Neill
translates as son of Neil.
Early Origins of the Nyell family
The surname Nyell 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 Nyell family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nyell 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 Nyell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Nyell Spelling Variations
Spelling and translation were not standardized practices until the last few centuries. Spelling variations
are extremely common among early Scottish names. Nyell has been spelled MacNeil, MacNeill, MacNeal, MacNeilage, MacNeale, MacNeall, MacNeille, MacNeel, MacNiel, MacGreal, Mcneil, Mcneill, McNeal, Mcneal, Mcneall and many more.
Early Notables of the Nyell 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 Nyell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Nyell family to Ireland
Some of the Nyell 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 Nyell family to the New World and Oceana
Numerous Scottish settlers settled along the east coast of the colonies that would become the United States and Canada. Others traveled to the open country of the west. At the time of the American War of Independence
, some remained in the United States, while those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The highland games and Clan
societies that sprang up across North America in the 20th century have helped many Scots to recover parts of their lost traditions. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Nyells to arrive in North America: 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 Nyell 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.