Shiel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

This name was anglicized from Ó Siadhail in Gaelic, meaning an 'ancestor of Siadhail' (the prefix O denotes 'grandfather of'). Siadhail has been translated to mean 'sloth' or 'sluggishness'. As this name is descriptive of its original bearer, it is considered to be a nickname. However, many Irish of this name originally came from England or Scotland where the name Shields is derived from an Old English word meaning 'shed' or 'hut' - a somewhat more flattering meaning.

Early Origins of the Shiel family

The surname Shiel was first found in the Ulster region counties of Donegal, Derry, Antrim and Down. This family are reputed to be descendents of the great King Niall of the Nine Hostages.

Early History of the Shiel family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shiel research. Another 99 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1548, 1545, 1677, 1745, 1693, 1698, 1800, 1879, 1886 and 1949 are included under the topic Early Shiel History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Shiel Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Shiel, Sheilles, Sheild, Sheill, Sheels, Sheils, Sheil, Shield, Shields, Shieles, Shiels, Shiells, Shielles, Shiell, Sheills, Sheilds and many more.

Early Notables of the Shiel family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name at this time was Luke O'Shiell (1677-1745), Irish Jacobite, born in Dublin who emigrated to Nantes, France after the Irish defeat, father of Mary O'Shiell, a French-Irish businessperson in Nantes and her sisters Agnés O'Shiell and Anne O'Shiell, founder of the family manor of the O'Shiell, Manoir de la Placelière, which became the gathering place of the large Irish colony in Nantes; Michael...
Another 68 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Shiel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Shiel migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Shiel Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Henry C Shiel, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1764 [1]
Shiel Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Shiel, who landed in Mississippi in 1833 [1]

Canada Shiel migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Shiel Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Shiel, who was a fisherman of St. John's, Newfoundland in 1774 [2]
Shiel Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Shiel, aged 25, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • Mary Shiel, aged 21, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • Mr. John Shiel, aged 13 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Rose" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in August 1847 [3]
  • Ms. Judith Shiel, aged 35 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Virginius" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in August 1847 [3]
  • Mrs. Ann Shiel, aged 60 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Wellington" departing 29th July 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 20th September 1847 but she died on board [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Shiel migration to Australia +

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

Shiel Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Shiel, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Wanderer" [5]
  • Thomas Shiel, aged 22, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Wanderer" in 1851 [5]
  • George Shiel, aged 44, a carpenter, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "James Fernie" [6]
  • Andrew Shiel, aged 21, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Violet"
  • Martin Shiel, aged 19, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Violet"

New Zealand Shiel 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:

Shiel Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • A. Shiel, Scottish settler travelling from Greenock aboard the ship "Robert Henderson" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 9th February 1858 [7]
  • Elizabeth Shiel, aged 41, a cook, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hermione" in 1878

Contemporary Notables of the name Shiel (post 1700) +

  • George Knox Shiel (1825-1893), Irish-born, American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Oregon (1861-1863)
  • George Knox Shiel (1825-1893), American Democrat politician, U.S. Representative from Oregon at-large, 1861-63 [8]
  • Derek Shiel, Irish-born, London-based painter, sculptor, writer, and film-maker
  • John Shiel (b. 1917), English former professional footballer who played from 1936 to 1939
  • Matthew Phipps "M.P." Shiel (1865-1947), born with the surname "Shiell, " British writer of West Indian descent, best known for his novel "The Purple Cloud"
  • Dylan Anthony Shiel (b. 1993), Australian rules footballer

HMS Cornwall
  • Ernest Mole Shiel (d. 1942), British Stoker 1st Class aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [9]


The Shiel 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: Omne solum forti patria
Motto Translation: Every land is a native country to a brave man


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  3. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 55)
  4. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 95)
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) WANDERER 1851. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Wanderer.htm
  6. ^ South Australian Register Friday 17th November 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) James Fernie 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/jamesfernie1854.shtml
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 10) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  9. ^ Force Z Survivors Crew List HMS Cornwall (Retrieved 2018, February 13th) - Retrieved from https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listcornwallcrew.html#A


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