This Scottish clan surname is recorded in the spellings of MacColl, MacCole, McColl and McCole. Its origins are uncertain; but it is probably derived from a short form of the personal name "Nicholas", itself coming from the Greek "nikan" meaning to conquer, plus "laos", people. If this is the case then it is also one of a large group of Greek and Hebrew names which were "imported" by the 12th century Christian crusaders on their return from the Holy Land. This group includes such names as Thomas, Isaac, Abraham, and many others, all of which became surnames in England, Scotland and Ireland. The surname may also be an anglicized form of the Gaelic "MacGill Chomhghaill", meaning the son of the servant of St. Comhghall, a personal name of uncertain origin, borne by an early Irish saint. Historical references to the name are apparently rare before the 18th century, which is surprising considering the losses which the clan received at the battle of Culloden in 1745. No less than eighteen nameholders, in the regiment of Stewart of Appin being killed and fifteen wounded. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Paul MacColl, which was dated 1501, and who held charters on the lands of Glasdrum, Ballachulish, during the reign of King James 1V of Scotland, known as "Wee Jamie", 1488 - 1513.
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