Trail History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Scottish Trail surname is most likely a habitational name, taken on from a place name; perhaps from the Gaelic "Traill Creek" which runs into Upper Loch Torridon.

Early Origins of the Trail family

The surname Trail was first found in Bedfordshire (Old English: Bedanfordscir), located in Southeast-central England, formerly part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, where they were Lords of the Manor of Yielden and other estates in that shire as shown in the Domesday Book taken in the year 1086. [1]

Geoffrey de Traillgi, a knight at the Battle of Hastings, was an under-tenant of the Bishop of Coutances. He was originally from Trelly in the arrondisement of Manche, Coutances in Normandy. Geoffrey also held Teign, in Devon. [2]

The family joined the many Norman nobles who moved north into Scotland.

Some of the first records of the family in Scotland include: Thomas Trayle, Canon of Aberdeen in 1366; and Walter Trail (Trayl, or Treyl, or Treyle), of the family of Traill of Blebo in Fife, Bishop of St. Andrews in 1385. [3]

Early History of the Trail family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Trail research. Another 95 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1395, 1523, 1583, 1808, 1401, 1378, 1380, 1642, 1716, 1642, 1603, 1678 and 1765 are included under the topic Early Trail History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Trail Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Trail, Traill, Trayle, Treil, Trelly, Teign, Pentrail, Traylor and many more.

Early Notables of the Trail family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was Walter Trail (died 1401), late 14th century Bishop of St. Andrews, appears as an official in the Bishopric of Glasgow in 1378, as a Magister Artium and a Licentiate in Canon and civil law, In 1380, he is a doctor in Canon and Civil Law...
Another 53 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Trail Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Trail family to Ireland

Some of the Trail family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 35 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Trail migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Trail Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Trail, who arrived in Maryland in 1682 [4]
Trail Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Trail, who landed in New England in 1750 [4]
  • Robert Trail, who landed in New England in 1756 [4]
  • Christian Trail, who settled in Virginia in 1764
  • Heny Trail, who arrived in Boston in 1768
  • William and Janet Trail, who arrived in Savannah, Georgia in 1775
Trail Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • R Trail, aged 38, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1864 [4]

Australia Trail migration to Australia +

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

Trail Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Eliza Trail, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "John Woodall" in 1849 [5]

New Zealand Trail 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:

Trail Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Charles Trail, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Sir Edward Paget" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 15th August 1856 [6]
  • Mr. William Trail, (b. 1837), aged 23, British blacksmith travelling from London aboard the ship "Gananoque" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 9th May 1860 [7]
  • Mr. George Trail, (b. 1831), aged 32, British farm labourer travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 16th February 1864 [7]
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Trail, (b. 1832), aged 31, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 16th February 1864 [7]
  • Miss Jane Trail, (b. 1854), aged 9, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 16th February 1864 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Trail (post 1700) +

  • Richard Trail, American airline executive


The Trail 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: Discrimine salus
Motto Translation: Safety in danger.


  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  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) JOHN WOODALL 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849JohnWoodall.htm
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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