Family History and Genealogy Resources by Surname
McDonell Surname Origin
This family was for many centuries reputed the most powerful of any in the Highlands of Scotland, being styled 'King of the Isles,' for many generations, during which they were successful in asserting their independence. Somerled, Thane of Argyle, flourished about the year 1140, and was the ancestor of all the McDonalds. He married the daughter of Olans, Lord of the Western Isles, whereupon he assumed the title of 'King of the Isles.' He was slain, in 1164, by Walter, Lord High Steward of Scotland. Donald, from whom the clan derived their name, was his grandson.
Source: An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names With an Essay on their Derivation and Import; Arthur, William, M.A.; New York, NY: Sheldon, Blake, Bleeker & CO., 1857.
McDonell Surname Meaning and Family Facts
There is more to McDonell family history than the origin of your surname:
A McDonell Family History Thought:
'We are all omnibuses in which our ancestors ride, and every now and then one of them sticks his head out and embarrasses us.' --Oliver Wendell Homes