McCampbell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms


The surname McCampbell was first found in Argyllshire (Gaelic erra Ghaidheal), the region of western Scotland corresponding roughly with the ancient Kingdom of Dál Riata, in the Strathclyde region of Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Argyll and Bute. Researchers suggest a joint progenitor of both the Campbells and the MacArthurs.

A Strathclyde-Briton family from the Scottish/English Borderlands was the first to use the surname McCampbell. It is a name for a person with a crooked mouth, or crooked smile. This nickname surname is derived from the Gaelic words cam and beul, meaning crooked and mouth. Nicknames could be derived from various sources. In general, they came from the physical characteristics, behavior, mannerisms and other attributes of the bearer.

Early Origins of the McCampbell family

The surname McCampbell was first found in Argyllshire (Gaelic erra Ghaidheal), the region of western Scotland corresponding roughly with the ancient Kingdom of Dál Riata, in the Strathclyde region of Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Argyll and Bute. Researchers suggest a joint progenitor of both the Campbells and the MacArthurs. The MacArthurs were the ancient senior sept of the Campbells. Arthur derives from the son of King Aedan MacGabhran, the 9th century Scots King of Argyll. The Clan Campbell was known as the Siol Diarmaid an Tuirc or, alternatively, the Clan Duibhne, and in a Crown charter Duncan MacDuibhne was ancestor of the Lords of Lochow in 1368.

Sir Colin Campbell, son of Sir Archibald, was succeeded by Sir Duncan in 1427. Sir Duncan’s second son, Black Colin of Glenorchy founded the Campbells of Breadalbane. He built the castle of Caolchurn and married Margeret Stewart, heiress of the Lords of Lorn. After the Battle of Harlaw in 1411 in which the MacDonalds were badly defeated by the King, the Campbells, took advantage of the situation to acquire more territory from the MacDonalds.

In 1517 the Campbells and the MacLeans of Duart were called upon by the Crown to again suppress the Lord of the Isles, MacDonald of Lochalsh, who had seized two Royal Castles. Lochalsh went to the scaffold and the Campbells acquired more land. Their Chiefs were bestowed with knighthoods, baronies and Earldoms. The Earl of Argyll becoming Chancellor of Scotland to James IV, and through his influence achieved a measure of peace throughout the Highlands.

Early History of the McCampbell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McCampbell research.

McCampbell Spelling Variations

Before the printing press standardized spelling in the last few hundred years, no general rules existed in the English language. Spelling variations in Scottish names from the Middle Ages are common even within a single document. McCampbell has been spelled Campbell, Cambell, Cambel, Camble, Cammell and many more.

Early Notables of the McCampbell family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Sir Duncan Campbell, the first Earl in 1437; Archibald Campbell, 1st Marquis of Argyll, 8th Earl of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell, (1607-1661); and his son, Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll (1629-1685), a Scottish peer; Robert Campbell, 5th Laird of Glenlyon (1630-1696), Scottish noble, best known as one of the commanding officers at the Massacre of Glencoe; Sir Archibald Campbell, who became the first Duke of Argyll in 1701; John Campbell, 1st Earl of Breadalbane and Holland (1636-1717), known as “Slippery John”, Scottish peer during the Glorious…
Another 96 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McCampbell

Ireland Migration of the McCampbell family to Ireland

Some of the McCampbell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this article . This is from whence I came and I will cover further later

Migration of the McCampbell family

For Scottish and Scottish-Irish immigrants, the great expense of travel to North America did not seem such a problem in those unstable times. Acres of land awaited them and many got the chance to fight for their freedom in the American War of Independence. These Scots and their ancestors went on to play important roles in the forging of the great nations of the United States and Canada. Among them: Neil Campbel, who was a “Scotch prisoner” sent to New Jersey in 1685 by order of the English government in 1651; Agnes Campbell, who arrived at New York in 1774 with her two children.

My ancestor was John McCampbell, arrived in the Great Valley of Virginia in 1753, and had seven children. John was born about 1688 at Londonderry, Northern Ireland.


Contemporary Notables of the name McCampbell (post 1700)+

  • Commander David McCampbell (1910-1996), American naval aviator and all-time leading Navy flying ace with 34 aerial victories, awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1944, eponym of the USS McCampbell (DDG-85), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and David McCampbell Terminal, Palm Beach International Airport
  • Artis J. McCampbell (b. 1953), American politician, Member of the Alabama House of Representatives (2006-)
  • Kennedy McCampbell Crockett (b. 1920), American diplomat who was the United States Ambassador to Nicaragua from 1967 to 1970
  • Nancy McCampbell Grace (b. 1952), American Virginia Myers Professor of English at The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio

The McCampbell 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.

One of the ten commonest surnames in Scotland, the name was taken to Ulster by galloglass and later, in much larger numbers, by settlers in the 17th century plantation schemes. It is now among the fifty commonest surnames in Ireland. Some of the name however, may be of ancient Irish origin, descended from a County Tyrone sept that bore the name Mac Cathmhaoil. CAMPBELL was known as the race of Diarmid, for centuries the most powerful influence in Argyll and the West of Scotland. In the 13th century Archibald Campbell obtained the Lordship of Lochlow through his marriage with the daughter of the King’s treasurer, and for a long period thereafter, the Campbells of Lochlow formed one of the chief branches of the clan. Early records of the name mention Gillespie Cambel, who held from the Crown, the lands of Menstrie and Sauchie in 1263, and he was also a witness to a charter by Alexander II erecting Newburgh in Fife into a burgh in favour of the monks of Lindores. The name in Ireland is Mac Cathmhaoil (battle chief). When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father’s christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour.

Motto: Ne obliviscaris
Motto Translation: Forget not

About royfmc

BS in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University's McCormick College of Engineering MBA from DePaul University's Kellstadt's College of Business JD from DePaul University's College of Law
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