Macphail Origins
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Present Thinking on the Origins of the Macphail's

By J. E. Mackfall

It seems that the majority of Macphail's come from four main branches or families.

Firstly the family which lived in the North of Scotland in Caithness and Sutherland. These Macphail's seem to be descended from a Paul Neilson Mackay (son of Paul, - "MacPhail"), son of Neil Neilson Mackay. This family took the name of Macphail or Polson in about 1430 and were a Sept or Branch of the Mackay's, and are no blood relation to the other families of Macphail.

The second group are those of Inverairnie, near Inverness, which came across from Lochaber in the West from the old Clan Chattan lands in 1291. When the main groups of Clan Chattan moved East with the Mackintoshes, leaving some Macphail's back in Lochaber and the West, those left behind came under the protection of the Cameron's who also at one time were part of the Clan Chattan. Over the next few hundred years these two groups became completely separated. The next group is also of the same blood as the last two. This group originally lived in Benderloch and the southern parts of Lochaber and were also a part of the old Clan Chattan. But after an argument with their neighbours the Maclean's moved inland to Argyle and Glenlyon and took the protection of its landlords the Campbell's.

These were the four main groups of Macphail's, three of which seem to be of the same blood.

Revised: September 17, 2009 .