Last name: Campbell

This ancient Scottish name has its origins in a Gaelic nickname "Caimbeul", meaning "wry (or crooked) mouth", from "dam", bent or crooked, and "beul", mouth. That it was originally a nickname can be seen by a charter of 1447, which records Duncan le Cambeli, the first Lord Campbell, the "le" being the Scottish "lie", meaning "so called", or "known as". A sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were given in the first instance with reference to occupation, or to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress. Clan tradition has it, that the Campbells were originally known as "Clana Duibhne" or "O'Duine", from one Diarmid O'Duine of Lochow. About 1390, Duncan Campbell witnessed a charter by Duncan, Earl of Levenax, and is believed to be the first namebearer to introduce a "p" into the name, influenced by the erroneous theory that "Cam(p)bell" comes from the Norman-French "de Campobello" i.e., "of the beautiful plain". Campbell is the family name of the hereditary Dukes of Argyll, dating from 1445, and their Coat of Arms is described thus: "Quarterly, first and fourth, gyronny of eight gold and black, the Crest being a boar's head couped gold". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gillespic Cambel, which was dated 1263, in the "Exchequer Rolls of Scotland", during the reign of King Alexander 111 of Scotland, 1249 - 1286. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

© Copyright: Name Origin Research www.surnamedb.com 1980 - 2016

Want to dig deeper into your family history? Take a look at our page on building a Family Tree. Or get scientific and enter the exciting world of Ancestral DNA!

Surname Scroll

Enjoy this name printed onto our colourful scroll, printed in Olde English script. An ideal gift. View Details.
PayPal Acceptance Mark
Surname Scroll

thomas campbell clark
My mother was a campbell. I have heard that my family came up from virgina. We all live in ky now.

SharonCampbell-ZediakNorman
My Granddad was a Campbell from Galway that came to Liverpool then to London. Both my grandparents and parents met at Lancaster Gate near Marble Arch. Home is where the hearth is.

Helen Jane Campbell Hoffstedder

Looking for Campbell family in Scotland

John S

Hi Campbell descendants, As told to me, my grandfather Campbell was from Switzerland and migrated to Mexico. Any other Campbell dependents are on this family tree line? California Campbell

Liam Mac Graith
With this website, you could end up with a completely irrelevant scroll on your wall. One which has no bearing on your family history. For example, no mention is made of the fact that the Irish surname Mac Cathmhaoil is also anglicized as Campbell.

Amanda Campbell
Hey, I don't know a lot about my dad's side of the family. If you have family in SC...

Sandra Campbell
I found it to be interesting to read all about my surname however to Liam Mac Graith's point...all information is important and you could perhaps not have all of the information. However, I thought it was quite a bit of information for my purposes. I was born and raised in the States, but for those from Europe with large families across Europe....all information is very, very important I feel. So it is basically up to the individual as to how much/deep one need go to learn about their surnames. My relatives lived in the States, but I have no idea where my grandfathers parents were born or their parents and so on. There are a lot of Campbell's...that is for sure! My mother's heritage is all German...I just tell people I am a Heinz 57! Have a good day!

Lee Campbell
Much of the research I've been reading on my surname, indicates the origin of Campbell's was initially Ireland (Ulster county, north Ireland) and these folks emigrated into Scotland (land of the Irish) across the Kintyre straight. I've gotten a family history back 6 gen & 8 gen on my paternal side, and there are about an equal mix of Scottish and Irish birthplaces.... How do I determine 'what' i am? Often I get asked (told) I'm Scottish because of the Campbell surname, though I really "feel" like I'm Irish (I've never been to either country, but, I've always had a strong desire to walk on Ireland) ... Anyone with some solid direction to info or data I can confirm my heritage/identity ?? I'd greatly appreciate it :) Thanks for reading. Sláinte!

william campbell
My Great grandfather Delos Campbell was born in New York in 1829. He migrated to Illinois, then to Los Angeles California.He died in 1908. His wife was Adilaida Hernandez. If anyone has any information, please email me at wncampbe555@gmail.com. Thanks, Bill......