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McNeil Family HistoryRecorded in many forms including MacNeill, McNeill, O'Neill, Neill, Neil, Neale, and many others, this is a surname of pre 8th century Gaelic origins. It derives from the word 'niall' meaning 'champion', a meaning which no doubt greatly assisted its popularity through Northern Europe. In a sense by a transposition of identity it can be Irish, Scottish or Norman-English. Originally the name was adopted in Ireland by invading Scandinavians who made Dublin their capital. Then in the form of "Njall", it was introuduced both to Norway, Iceland and the Isle of Man as well as into what became known as Normandy (in France) during the 9th century.
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I'm a descendant of Arthur McNeil who came to Canada in 1819 with his brother Alexander, and his mother. His father was Alexander McNeil (b 1753?according to ancestry.ca).
He came from Killinkere, County Cavan area. I traveled there in 2018, and was shown the old homestead where a resident McNeil told us that as far as he knew, all McNeils originated from in County Cavan.
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