This notable Scottish surname is a development of the Old Gaelic "Mac Dubhghaill", meaning the son of the dark stranger. "Dubh-gall" was frequently used probably sarcastically by native Scots and Irish as a byname for conquering Scandinavian-Vikings, and to distinguish the dark haired Danes from fair-haired Norwegians. The McDougall clan are descended from one, Dugall, eldest son of Somerled of the Isles, and were described by the late Dr. Alexander Carmichael as "one of the most unobtrusive and honoured families in Scotland". In the process of development "Mac Dhubhghaill" acquired many spellings including: MacDugald, MacDougall, and short forms such as McDowall, McDuall, McDool, McCoole and McCole. Early recordings of the surname include: Robert M'Kowele, Lord of Karsnelohe, Ayrshire, in the charters of 1370; Fergus Macdowylle of Roxburghshire, in 1374; Duncan MacCoull of Lorn, justice of the peace for Argyllshire, in 1610, and Ewin M'Dougall of Dunaverty, Argyllshire, in 1647. Francis Thomas McDougall became archdeacon of the Isle of Wight in 1874, and Sir Patrick Leonard MacDoughall (1819 - 1894), was a distinguished Scottish general. A coat of arms granted to the family is divided quarterly with a silver lion rampant in the first and fourth azure quarters, and a black lymphad.The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Duncan MacKowle, founder of the Priory of Ardchattan, which was dated 1230, in the "Medieval Records of Argyllshire", during the reign of Alexander 11nd, King of Scotland, 1214 - 1249.
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