McNiel family crest
The Scottish surname McNiel, also found in Ireland, is of patronymic origin. The name is an anglicized form of the Gaelic name Mac Néill, a patronymic from the personal name Niall , meaning “champion.” The McNiel family in Scotland is associated with the regions of Barra and Gigha in the Hebrides, The first McNiel 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.  Today there are approximately 2,000 bearers of the last name McNiel living in the United States.

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