The MacDowalls

By Fergus D. H. Macdowall Editor-in-Chief, William L. MacDougall Editor, Scott A. MacDougald Associate Editor, Suzanne O. McDougal Production Editor, and eight talented Contributing Writers

The MacDowalls became available in June 2009. The book traces glories, tragedies, and accomplishments of the MacDowall kindred from their beginnings in Scotland and Ireland to their emigrations to such countries as the United States, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Russia. The cast of characters ranges from kings, barons and builders, to artists and generals, farmers and settlers, homemakers, and teachers. Their stories unfold as a progressing history of the Macdowalls. The Macdowall kindred includes many spelling variations of the surname including McDowell, MacDowel, Macdowal, MacDowyl, McDuyl, Macdoual, MacDool, McDoll, Macdougall – the original ancient name of the MacDowalls which derived from the name Duegald (Gaelic Dughaill) from which the family’s founder derived his name. Other names within the MacDowalls include Coyle, Dole, Dowall, Dugal, Dugle, Duwall, Duvall, M’Gowall, and Kyle. Several additional spellings of the name are identified in the book’s listing of Names and Spellings.
The MacDowalls is well written and is very interesting to read because it has such a variety of topics. This is perhaps the first book ever to attempt to give a broad overview of the MacDowalls and some of their accomplishments over the past 900 years. Over their 182 pages the Introduction and the Chapters cover a broad array of topics. The Chapters include the ancient history in Galloway, the Macdougalls of Makerstoun cadet, castles and abbeys and other structures relating to the Macdowalls in Galloway, emigration and settlement of North America, prominent MacDowalls in North American history, and emigrations of families to the Netherlands, Sweden and Russia.
Fergus D. H. Macdowall Chief of the Name has directed that all profits from the sale of this book are to be held in Trust by the Clan MacDougall Society of North America to be used for promoting the heritage of the MacDowalls.
This book uses of the new MacDowall Tartan pattern as its book cover.  The MacDowalls may be purchased through  The soft cover price is $19.00 plus shipping. The ebook price is $8.00. The book is also available at Amazon.


Journeying in MacDougall Country

By Walter M. Macdougall


A descriptive travelogue of that grand Highland countryside which gave birth to our MacDougall ancestors along with extensive notes on Clan history, geographic features, maps, sketches and historical anecdotes designed to enrich a journey in the land of Lorn.  Introduction by our 30th and 31st Chiefs of Clan MacDougall. This wide ranging book is based on journals of trips to Lorn and Argyll made by the author.  He has visited the places of our clan, researched our history, and met with the people who are most knowledgeable about the area and its history.  The book contains a special section called “The Lore of Lorn” where additional information is provided for those searching for more details on the topics.Walter has directed that all profits from the sale of this book are to be donated to the Dunollie Preservation Trust.  This is a project for the renovation and improvement of Dunollie Manor in Oban, Scotland so that it may house the Hope MacDougall Collection, a museum, and a clan center.The new and expanded second Edition of this book became available in January 2008.  It may be purchased through  The soft cover price is $24.95 plus shipping. Also your local bookstore can order it for you but may ask for the ISBN 978-0-6151-7789-2.  Major outlets such as or may offer it at their own prices. Available from The Drapers Shop at Dunollie House in Oban as well as through Amazon.


Kings in the West Beyond the Sea:
An Informal History of the Clan MacDougall

By William MacDougall

An informal history told through the real-life stories of clanspeople starting with Somerled, whose son Dougall founded the clan, and continuing with their notable descendants up to modern times — Crusaders, admirals, generals, government leaders, farmers, and teachers — even the chief of an Indian tribe in South America. The book is intended to be easy reading for everybody. The narrative contains accounts of dozens of clansmen and women who left Scotland and emigrated to other parts of Europe, North America, South America, Africa, and Australia where their descendants are thriving today. Proceeds to benefit the Dunollie Preservation Trust Fund. This book is currently out of print. A revised edition is currently being edited and prepared for publication.


From a Hollow on the Hill

By Nancy MacDougall Black

A compendium of facts, stories, history, and photograph relating to a number of MacDougall lines and the families into which they married both within a large area around Oban, Scotland, and in such far off places as Australia. From her tremendous background and prodigious research Miss Black provides insight into the life and times of our ancestors which is not available either in more limited family histories or in general histories. Among those whom Miss Black traces in her own ancestry are the famous family of MacDougall bagpipe makers and players. This book is must for those seriously interested in how their ancestors lived or who want to understand more fully the web of social interconnections which existed in the Highlands and across the oceans to distant lands. This book is available from The Drapers Shop at Dunollie House in Oban as well as through Amazon.

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Highland Postbag:
The Correspondence of Four MacDougall Chiefs

By Jean MacDougall (sister of our Thirtieth Chief)


This book of 294 pages is an extensive collection of correspondence of four of our MacDougall Chiefs i.e. Iain Ciar our 22nd Chief, Alexander our 23rd Chief, Patrick our 24th Chief, and John our 25th Chief, between the years 1715 and 1865. This book is available in hardcover from The Drapers Shop at Dunollie House in Oban as well as in paperback through Amazon.


Island of Kerrera:
Mirror of History

By Hope MacDougall of MacDougall (sister of our Thirtieth Chief)


An intimate history of a MacDougall island and its people. This is a book about how our clan’s people lived and the events which occurred on a island which has been a clan MacDougall island for most of the past 900 years.  It contains descriptions of such things as tools, properties, old agricultural methods, old crafts, as well as information about Gylen Castle, and tenant records of people who lived on this island. This green cover edition is available from The Drapers Shop at Dunollie House in Oban. The black and white cover edition is available through Amazon.

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An Official Short History of Clan MacDougall

By Michael Starforth

This excellent little book of 50 pages was written for our thirtieth Chief and her family members by a professional historian as an official and a definitive source on MacDougall history. It covers our clan origins, the rise and fall in power, the Scottish Wars of Independence, the relations with the Stewarts, the Jacobite wars, and our Chiefs through eight hundred and fifty years. This contents of this well written little book are historically reliable. It is available from The Drapers Shop at Dunollie House in Oban.


The Copper Inheritance:
A History of the Kindred of McDowall of Scotland

By Michael G. McDowall

Copper Inheritance

The Copper Inheritance is an historical documentary based on meticulous research of early chronicles, medieval and later records. The title refers to a charter Dougal McDowall obtained in 1295 from his kinsman, King John I (Baliol) of Scotland. The text was engraved in old Saxon characters on a plate of copper which was kept safely in the family Kirk until the end of the 17th century. This book covers the main McDowall family groups and their cadets, the origin of the McDowall family, and the medieval kings of Galloway from whom they descend. It discusses Dougal McDowall in the war against Robert Bruce. It covers the rise to power of the Douglases – the prioress of Eccles – high treason – Mary Queen of Scots and the Reformation – Oliver Cromwell – Lord Bankton and his four wives – six generations of McDowall in Edinburgh – the first workers’ strike – the master of the Queen’s works who rebuilt Edinburgh castle – ‘bloody Clavers’, the ‘killing times’ and the covenanting rebels. It provides a very personal insight into the life, the politics, religion, wars and the drama that is Scotland’s history from 11th – 17th century. The 130 pages of text is profusely illustrated with photographs, drawings and genealogy charts. Published by Oakleaf Works, 41 Echline Park, Queensferry, Edinburgh EH30 9XQ, Scotland. Copies are available from the author at email

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Dunollie, Oban, Argyll

By W. Douglas Simpson and Compiled by A.T. Hall Center For Scottish Studies, University of Aberdeen (1991), Old Aberdeen, Scotland, AB9 2UB

Original price of 3.95 pounds should be verified when ordering. This book of 118 pages was written by a very well respected archaeologist and historian from the University of Aberdeen who specialized in castles and fortifications. This book is well researched and footnoted with his research sources. A scholarly study of the history and the geographic setting of Dunollie and Gylen castles and the Oban area from prehistory, through the dark ages, and feudal ages up to the time of building of the Dunollie Manor House. This is a source of historic information from documents and from within our Chief’s family which is not generally available. It includes a detailed analysis of the Brooch of Lorn, its history, and its provenance.

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The MacDowalls of Galloway:
A Journal for Historical Research

The two little booklets in the series were written by Fergus D. H. Macdowall of Garthland

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These booklets are filled with articles on the traditions and history of the MacDowalls of Galloway, their cadets, and their many branches. There are pedigrees of the main families, and discussions of their Heraldic symbols and meanings.

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Clan MacDougall

(Your Clan Heritage Series)
Cascade Publishing Company, Jedburgh, Scotland.

Contains interesting old prints and fine color reproductions of our crest and tartan.
Text is not always reliable.  It may be purchased at commercial book sellers.

Piobaireachd, by James William Cook


There is a long and proud history between MacDougalls and bagpipes. Not only have there been a number of well-regarded MacDougall pipers, but during the 19th century the MacDougall family of bagpipe makers operated an establishment in Perth whose bagpipes are still regarded as among the best ever made.

So it seems only fitting that MacDougalls and their descendants would take up writing about pipes and piping. One such product is a book produced by a member of our own Society, James William Cook, who has authored this slim volume, Piobaireachd. For those not familiar, piobaireachd (pronounced something like “PEE-brock) is the classical music of the Great Highland Bagpipe. Piobaireachd, or Ceol Mor (literally, “big music”), is characterized by a musical theme that is repeated with increasingly complex variations. Piobaireachd is a slow music that is entirely unique to Scotland.

This book is not a history of piobaireachd, nor is it rightly characterized as an instructional manual (though it does contain some instructions on the embellishments used in piobaireachd). It is perhaps better characterized as a reference book. After a brief introduction it describes each of the embellishments used in piobaireachd, together with its name and how it appears in musical notation. Perhaps the most valuable element is that this volume includes the canntaireachd (“CANT-rock”) for each embellishment. Before the musical notation for the Great Highland Bagpipe was regularized, piobaireachd was taught using canntaireachd, a system of “singing” the embellishments for each piece. The piobaireachd manuscripts that survive from the time before notation was regularized are written using a form of the canntaireachd, making them very difficult for non-experts to understand.

This volume is a useful reference for anyone from the aspiring piobaireachd player who needs a ready reference, to the curious musician not familiar with piping notation, to the those who are just curious about this unique musical form. If you would like to purchase a copy of this book, you can purchase it from Amazon ($40) or directly from the author at ($30).