- Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is a Scottish and Irish, surname. It originates from the pre 9th century Norse-Viking name "Rogn-valdr", which translates as "wise- counsel" or perhaps "wise God", a meaning which no doubt increased its popularity. The Vikings controlled much of Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and Northern England from the 8th to the 11th centuries, and their influence remains ion many place names and surnames of which this is one. In the Gaelic the spelling is usually as Rannald or Rannell, the English form being Ronald. From these have developed numerous patronymic or diminutive forms, such as MacRanald, MacRannell, and MacReynold, as well as the short forms commencing Mc, as well as the patronymic Ronaldson. John M'Ranald was recorded in Kintyre, Scotland, in 1483, although it is claimed that the name as MacRannell or Grannell originate not from Scotland, but from the province of Connacht, in Ireland, their territory being known as Muntir Eolais. This clan was very influential in Ireland up to the war of 1690, when as a result of their support for the Catholic cause and King James 11nd (1685 - 1690), their lands were expropriated. Examples of the early recordings include John McRannells, of County Tyrone, in 1712; and that of Gorrif McCrannell (as spelt), which was dated November 21st 1657, at Derry Cathedral, County Derry, during the reign of Oliver Cromwell, known as "The Lord Protector", 1650 - 1658. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.