This long-established surname is of early medieval Scottish origin, and is believed to be an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "Mac Conaill", son of Conall, a male given name derived from the Celtic "Kuno-val-s", meaning "high-mighty". This ancient personal name was borne by Conall Cearnach, the most famous warrior of the Order of Knights of the Red Branch, instituted by Conor MacNessa, King of the Irish province of Ulster, circa the year 12 B.C. However, another Celtic personal name, "Dubno-walos", from "dubno-", world, and "walos", mighty, was, from an early date, written as "Domhnall", and when preceded by "Mac" is pronounced "Maakoonil" or "Maakynel". Consequently, the latter name may also be the source of the surname. In 1638, one Robert M'Kynnell was retoured heir of Robert M'Kynnell, his father, in "the 40d lands of old extent of Auchincreiche", Dumfriesshire, the McKinnells of Dumfriesshire having come of a Highland Clan. Mary McKinnel from Stranraer, Wigtownshire, an early Scottish settler in North America, embarked from Stranraer on the ship "Jackie" bound for New York on May 31st 1775, and on June 10th 1870, the marriage of Elizabeth McKinnell to William McKinnon took place in Edinburgh parish, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Dovenaldus Macynel, which was dated circa 1250, in the "Chartulary of Lennox", 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.
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