MacNeil Family CrestThe Scottish surname MacNeil, also found in Ireland, is of patronymic origin. The name is an anglicized form of the Gaelic name Mac Néil, a patronymic from the personal name Niall , meaning “champion.” The MacNeil family in Scotland is associated with the regions of Barra and Gigha in the Hebrides, The first MacNeil immigrants to Ireland came as Gallowglasses (mercenary soldiers) and it is recorded that they were employed as far west as the borders of Connacht as early as 1346.  The first written reference to the name is shown to be that of Gilbert McNeil, which was dated 1329, "Great Seal of Scotland" in Robert the Bruce's reign.

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