When did mcdonald become mcdaniel and why?

+2 votes
in Genealogy Help by

1 Answer

+1 vote
That's a difficult question to answer.  Some of it is how their names were written in the census and other documents.

My family left Scotland in the late 1700's as Mcdonnel which became Mcdonald and finally MacDonald as we are known today.  There were also some other spellings.

On my mother's side we have Von Demark to Vandermark and finally Vandemark

I realize this is not an anwser, just a plausable explanation.

by Bob MacDonald G2G1 (1.6k points)
In Scotland they say there are no McDaniels. They are supposed to be McDonalds but when they came to America there was not one way to spell words.


The name McDonald,
or the variation McDaniel,
is claimed to be of Irish or
Scottish origin and is
composed of the prefix
Mac (shortened to Mc),
meaning “son of” and the
Christian name of Daniel,
Donall or Donell. Both
versions – McDonald and
McDaniel – are found in
the Holden and Talley
ancestry. Donell or
Donall, a baptismal name
was popular in both
Ireland and Scotland in
ancient times. The Gaelic
name Donald or Donnel and the English name
Daniel all mean the same thing to Gaelic people.
The tradition is that the family is descended
from one Muireadach or Colla da Crioch, who was
living in Ireland in the latter part of the third
century A.D. The direct line of this descent cannot
be traced.
The McDonald or McDaniel Celtic family
descends from Somerled, son of Gillebride, through74
McDonald or
Clan Badge
“By sea or by land”
his son Ranald and his
grandson Dhomhnuill (or
Donald) of Islay. 
Somerled is described
as “a well tempered man,
in body shapely, of a fair
and piercing eye, of
middle stature and quick
discernment.” He
traveled “over the sea to
Skye,” where the Scottish
welcomed him as Lord of
the Isles. Somerled
expelled the Norsemen
from the Western Isles in
the 12th century and
became Regulus of the
Isles (king of the isles).
There are still people in Scotland who retain the McDaniel, furthermore there are many people who were Mac-Donald and changed their surnames to Mcdonald or McDonald and visa-versa for their own reasons...in-addition to this the recording of surnames have been in many cases written as they assumed.
I hope this may help 
I have McDonalds who showed up as both McDaniels and McDonnell and McDowell on census records. One of my ancestor's sisters showed up as a McDaniel when the rest of the siblings were McDonalds. A lot of people were illiterate or barely literate, even official record keepers, and let's not forget the Scots dialect! That couldn't have made things easy for people with other dialects to understand and properly transcribe.
Any connection with Daniels of New London, CT or Otsego County, NY?
I just stumbled upon this.  I am a descendant of John Daniels of New London, CT, and am involved in a DNA project to figure out where he came from.  

My Daniels line immigrated from CT, to NJ, to upstate NY.


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