Menu Check out your Irish Roots and get help with your genealogy research

Irish Surname - Campbell

A lot of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. This ancient Scottish name has its origins in the Scots Gaelic "Caimbeul" meaning "crooked mouth". 'Crooked or wry mouth' was a term often used to describe a man whose mouth inclined a little on one side. Another possible derivation of the Campbell surname comes from the anglicisation of the Irish Mac Cathmhaoil, meaning 'son of the battle chieftain'.

Gillespie O'Duibhne was the first to have borne the name, and founded clan Campbell at the beginning of the 13th century. The vast majority of Irish Campbells are descended from the Scottish family and the name came to Ireland when the Gallowglass moved into Ulster and later on with more traditional settlers who arrived in the seventeenth century. After the Plantations the Tyrone native Gaelic MacCathmhaoil clan also adopted Campbell as the anglicised version of their name.

Alternate Campbell Surname Spellings

Cambell, Campbell, Cambel, Camble, Cammell.

The surname Campbell is one of the thirty most numerous in Ireland, with over two-thirds of those living in Ulster. Campbell families are prevalent in Donegal, Cavan, Armagh, Down and Antrim.

Please Note

There is often limited information available on a specific coat of arms and motto for an Irish surname. Sometimes there are many variations, sometimes none, we have compiled a representative, but by no means exhaustive, selection. Please visit our Coat of Arms and Motto page for more information.

DNA And Your Irish Roots


Interesting Irish Connections