This notable Scottish clan surname is recorded in many forms including MacDowal, MacDowall, MacDoual, McDugald, McDougal, McDuall, McDill, McDool, and McCool. It is an anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "MacDubhghaill", a patronymic surname of pre 13th century. The derivation is from the male given name "Dubhghall", composed of the elements "dubh", meaning black or dark, and "gall", a stranger. It is said that this was frequently used as a nickname for Scandinavians, and in particular to distinguish the darker-haired Danes from fair-haired Norwegians. The McDougall clan are descended from one, Dugall, the eldest son of Somerled of the Isles, a family described by the late Dr. Alexander Carmichael as "one of the most unobtrusive and honoured families in Scotland". Early recordings of the surname include: Robert M'Kowele, Lord of Karsnelohe, Ayrshire in 1370; Fergus Macdowylle of Roxburghshire in 1374; whilst John and Michael McDill were "respited" for murder in 1526. They were followers of the famous earl of Cassilis, who was making an unsuccessful bid for the throne of Scotland. Other recordings include Ewin M'Dougall of Dunaverty, Argyllshire, in 1647, Francis Thomas McDougall, the archdeacon of the Isle of Wight, England in 1874, and Sir Patrick Leonard MacDoughall (1819 - 1894), a distinguished general in the British Army. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Duncan MacKowle, the founder of the Priory of Ardchattan. this was dated 1230, in the "Medieval Records of Argyllshire", during the reign of Alexander 11, King of Scotland, 1214 - 1249.
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