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McNelis Family HistoryRecorded as MacNelis, McNelis, MacNellis, McNellis and Nellis, this is an Irish surname of great antiquity. It derives from the pre 12th century Gaelic surname 'Mac Niallghuis', which loosely translates as 'The son of Neil, the vigourus one'. As to why Neil was full of vigour is unclear, but in the majority of Irish clan surnames, the origination is to do with a particular aspect of the original chief. This clan were originally from County Donegal in the far west of the country where they were coarbs, or hereditary holders of church lands and properties, at Donegal parish until about 1530.
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