Friday 27 July 2018

Record of the Week: Vincere Vel Mori

From the rocky Outer Hebridean Isle of Barra came the clan from which descended Toronto's seventh bishop, Neil McNeil.

Clan MacNeil Fast Facts:

  • The clan claims to descend from Irish king Niall of the Nine Hostages of the third century. 
  • The motto is Vincere Vel Mori, which translates to 'Victory or Death.'
  • Medieval Kisimul Castle is the seat of the clan's chief. 
  • The clan was known for pirating in the 1500s.
  • Archbishop McNeil would have come from the group of MacNeils who emigrated to Cape Breton in the early 1800s.

In the 1920s, the Clan MacNeil Association of America wrote to Archbishop McNeil to recruit him. Though they were successful with his brother, we're not sure if he actually joined the association. 

Reverend dear Sir:

Your forefathers came from the Isle of Barra, just a little island off the coast of Scotland, only eight miles long and four miles wide, and from no other place, for you are a Macneil and as such we extend an invitation to you to join the Clan Macneil Association of America.

This Association was organized nine years ago, and its purposes (as set forth in the Constitution) are "to foster and promote Scottish Clan traditions, sentiments and interests, especially those relating to the Clan Macneil; to cultivate social intercourse among the members; to uphold good citizenship of the Members in their respective countries; and to encourage cordial relations among the English speaking nations."

What do not appear int the Constitution are the goodwill created among the Members; the many friendships formed; the enjoyable programs of the Annual Meetings; the carrying to Macneils far and near of welcome word of each other through the Clan Macneil News; the tracing and recording of Members' genealogies; the several successes of the Association in making permanent and public records of the Clan's accomplishments in the development of America; and the fact that we are the only active individual Clan Association in North America.

The annual dues are $5.00 a year, which includes subscription to the Clan Macneil News. All officers in the Association serve without pay and all money goes for actual expenses. I am mighty proud of our name. I want you to join us. It would be a pleasure to have your application for membership addressed to me, personally, at 2095 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 

Cordially yours, H.N. McNeill

October 1, 1930

MN AA03.205a
Archbishop McNeil Fonds

Though there are many ways to spell MacNeil, all are welcome to join the clan!

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