Usually acknowledged as a sept of Clan Innes. Some sources indicate the name is also included with septs of other clans, such as the MacDonalds of Keppoch.

Mitchell is a surname found in all countries where folk from Scotland (among the top 20 Scottish surnames), Ireland and England have settled. Strongly represented in Scotlands NE regions it is also well represented in New Zealand and Australia. There are places named after prominent Scots settlers and explorers named Mitchell, moreso in Australia than New Zealand. A person named Mitchell was a prominent explorer in Australia and consequently there are many places where the name recalls recognition of achievements. Mitchell Highway, Mitchell Library , Mitcheltown, etc.... On New Zealand's West Coast (South Island), a place called Mitchell's Gulley can still produce gold in small quantities.

The name Mitchell has spread fairly well in modern times. In 1995 it was the 15th most common name in Scotland. A considerable number of people with the name were in Ayrshire and Galloway. It is well now represented in the North East of Scotland and is also in the top 25 most common names in New Zealand. The name has a strong following in Nn. Ireland, England, and Australia.

The surname Mitchell is derived from the name Michael, said by some sources to have been introduced to Scotland by the Normans. As were many Scottish names. However the name is older than the Normans (French: Michel) and may well have been in Britain in some form, long before the Normans came. The name Michael is considered Hebraic in origin, and is associated with the Bible and Christian beliefs (The Archangel Michael etc..) and is popular throughout Christendom. The meaning of the ancient Hebrew name Michael is "with the likeness of God" or "one who is like God". The ancient Christian Cuildigh (Culdee) Church was present in Britain (Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and Kernow, before the Romans, and in areas well beyond Roman control. In fact long before any of Britain and Ireland was considered to have the Roman Catholic faith or any of the protestant faiths, and before England ever existed as united "English" nation. For that matter, even before either "Scotland" or "Ireland" existed as united nations. Logically Michael and it's derivatives would have been present in the British Isles long before the Normans came, or even the Romans.

The "t" was introduced into the spelling to signify the "ch" was a hard sound "tch" rather than the soft "sh" sound as used in the French pronunciation (after a short "i" vowel sound as in the word "it"). In the English use of the name Michael, the "ch" is vocalised as a "k" sound following a long "i" vowel sound. The surname Michael may also have "ch" pronounced as in loch. Use of Mitchell as a forename is also quite popular now and is often used in New Zealand, Orkney and Galloway. In Orkney the name Michael is pronounced with the "ch" as "tch" so phonetically it sounds like Mitchell. Also the Harray church of S.Michael is known locally as "St. Mitchell's church. Spellings can be considered less important than the phonetics as often people could not spell and simply wrote down how a name sounded like to them.

Mitchell as a name is often shortened to "Mitch" as a nickname. Michael is often shortened to Mick, or Mike but these variations do not apply to Mitchell. The name MacMichael (son of Michael) is the source of many Scottish Mitchells. The Lanarkshire territorial name of Carmichael is often given as an alternative rendering.

One thing that is certain, people with Mitchell as their surname, like it. It sounds positive and strong without being harsh. Mitchell is also an adoptive name with people known to have selected it by deed-poll, and even to replace hard to pronounce Viking/Manx names. So use of the name expands through generations by birth and adoption, and deed poll, as has happened with surnames throughout history.

Surname variations are; MacMichael, MacMichell, Mechel, Meitchel, Michell, Michill, Michie, Michison, Mitchal, Mitchell, Mitchel, Mitchelson, Mitchellson, Mitchison, Mitchol, Mitschael, Mitsschal, Mittchel, Mychell, Mytchell. There is also a Norwegian spelling, Mitzel from Scots immigrants to Norway. Derivatives of the name are not all associated with Clan Innes or Clan MacDonald of Keppoch.

Mitchell; Mitchal; Mitchel,-son,-lson; Michell = Mitchell = Clan Innes
Michael,-s,-son ; Michie,-son = Clan MacDonald,
Michie,-son = Clan Forbes
MacMichie,-y = Clan MacDonald of Keppoch
MacMichael,-s = Clan Stewart of Appin OR Clan MacKenzie

The Tartan Sett:
Mitchell shares the same commercially woven tartan as the names Galbraith and Russell. And so did the surname Hunter until their tartan was recently modified. The sett is symmetrical, repeating.
(Sindex KGK:WBR) Note a copy of the tartan register I have seen, shows some differences as shown below:

Mitchell TS3006 Black 6 Green 16 Black 16 Red 4 Blue 16 White 4
Galbraith TS3006 Black 4 Green 24 Black 24 Red 2 Blue 24 White 4
Russell TS1094 Black 4 Green 24 Black 24 Red 2 Blue 24 White 4

There is significant difference in the proportions of the main bands of Black, Green and Blue, and the thin stripes of Black and Red differ. Also the TS codes seem at variance. The web-site of the Scottish Tartan Society now shows the thread counts associated with each sett.

Mitchell tartan
(Ancient colours)
Mitchell tartan
(Modern colours)

Clan Innes crest

Clan Innes tartan

Mottos and Emblems:

Mitchell, One is "In Deo Spes".
The English, Irish and Scots Mitchell families would have different mottos and crests (where applicable). Mitchell's in England are not necessarily originally of English origin. People travelled in search of work centuries ago, just as they do today. Often as the result of army enlistment and the shall we say demobbing elsewhere. Or being cattle drovers taking Highland cattle to English markets and being distracted from returning by work opportunity and perhaps some winsome lassie. Of course in saying this, it is highly likely some Mitchell's travelled north with English armies out to subdue the troublesome north, and whether they were lowland Scots or northern English, or even Irish, now is probably beside the point. The 1800's saw great movement of menfolk in the service of the British Army. Many Scots left the paucity of opportunity in the highlands to take the Queen or King's shilling, or that of some foreign nation. Many of these never returned home and stayed on in London, or Liverpool, or other city, or even in the then, colonies (in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Rhodesia, Canada, etc, and even the USA). Regiments like the London Scottish or the Liverpool Scottish etc had enlisted men who were ex-patriot Scots or the descendants of such, as did Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Scottish regiments.

Clan Innes motto: "Be Traist" (Be Faithful)

What do I think of my Mitchell surname, the associated family tartan and the Innes Clan tartan? I'm really happy with the name. The family tartan, the commercially available one, in ancient or modern colours is a very fine tartan. The Innes clan tartan is also great - it has all the glowing colours of a wonderful warm fire. Hold your hands out to it and you can't help feeling warm. The warmth and security of the home hearth. It provides the concept of security of home, warmth and sustenance, food, hospitality and family strength. And the Clan motto is fine too. It sort of leaves open to whom one should be faithful, but it's obvious it applies to God, to family, to self and to those for whom you may have responsibility, and to the causes you believe in, to the truth, God's truth.

Information gleaned about some Mitchell's and families follows:

In 1489 a John Michell was rewarded for holding Dumbarton Castle.

Mitchells became landowners in Ayrshire and Stirling.

The Mitchell Library in Glasgow was created with a bequest from Stephen Mitchell, a tobacco merchant.

The NSW state library is the famed Mitchell Library in Sydney Australia.

A John Mitsell held land in Glasgow in 1496.

Andro Mitschell was listed in the Court book of the Barony of Carnwath, 1544, as a cagger in Carnwath, Lanarkshire.

In 1555 a John Mytschell resided in Langside.

In 1611 Thomas Michell had a charter of eight parts of the lands or Muirtoune.

In 1708 Sir Andrew Mitchell, parliamentarian and diplomat, was born in Edinburgh. He died in 1771.

Of the Stirlingshire family of Mitchell of Craigends, John (who died 1711), left a son Alexander who recorded arms in 1719 as 'Mitchell of Mitchell', and his son by the heiress of Livingstone of Parkhall assumed his mother's surname and followed in that inheritance. Sir Thomas Livingston Mitchell was a scion of this family and.

Admiral Sir Andrew Mitchell (1757-1806), commander-in-chief of the North American station 1802-05, was the second son of Charles Mitchell of Baldridge, Dunfermline.

Major-General John Mitchell (1785-1859) was born in Stirlingshire.

Helen Mitchell, the daughter of a Mearns farmer is better known as Dame Nellie Melba and James Leslie Mitchell, also from the Mearns, used the pen name Lewis Grassic Gibbon when he wrote "The Scots Quair".

Sir Thomas Livingston Mitchell (1792-1855) who gained distinction as an explorer and surveyor in Australia and was knighted for his services in 1839, was the son of John Mitchell of Craigend, Stirlingshire.

The Mitchells of Arrachymore in the Lennox in 1778 selected a burial place the envy of many - on the Isle of Inchcailleach on Loch Lomond.

Andrew Mitchell, a Scot, introduced the steam engine to Denmark in 1790.

The Mitchell-Inneses of Stow, and Mitchells of the East and North-East, have been judged a Clan Innes sept following their marriage into the Inneses of Rora. This was confirmed by the late Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, Lord Lyon King of Arms, and the wearing of the Innes tartan approved.

During the troubles in Aden in the 1967, Lt-Col. Colin Mitchell in charge of the 1st Bn.Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, took the initiative and moved his troops, with pipes playing, into the troublesome Crater district and took back control of the district, much to the astonishment of the Yemeni Arabs and the embarassment of the shilly-shallying politicians of the day. For a history of this click here.

A John Mitchell was the coach of the New Zealand All Black Rugby team for a period (ending in 2003), having been a prominent Waikato rugby player and coach of international standing.

Todd Mitchell of Raglan is one of New Zealand's (2004) best reinsmen and trainer of Standard bred race horses. Standard breds are pacers or trotters and pull sulkies in races.

No family is presently recognised as having the chiefship and, apart from the Innes affiliation, there is apparently little official record of association with other clans/families.

Mitchell Web pages:
Electricscotland web-site has clan pages including some for the surname Mitchell.
To access their selection of names, click
Clan names and then click on the name Mitchell.

Copyright 2000 B.E.Mitchell In New Zealand
Mitchell Kilt Hire
Top Contact MKH MKH Link Pages
1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5