When Joseph Neal was born about 1750, in Pennsylvania, United States, his father, Owen Neill, was 31 and his mother, Catharine Jones, was 31. He died on 12 February 1841, in Wythe, Virginia, United States, at the age of 92.
English (of Norman origin): from the Old French, Anglo-Norman French, and Middle English personal name Neel, Nele, Nihel, Niel, itself derived from the Latin name Nigellus (a diminutive of Latin niger ‘black’), originally a nickname for someone with black hair or a dark complexion. The name was very common among Normans and was brought to England at the time of the Norman Conquest. There has been considerable confusion with the Irish and Scottish Gaelic name Niall (see Neil ); the two names are now pronounced identically. It is theoretically possible that in Normandy, where the personal name was popular, that it was also used for Old Norse Njáll, but this is difficult to prove. Njáll was adopted from the Irish Gaelic personal name Niall by Vikings in Ireland, who took it back to Iceland and Norway, but whether the Vikings also took Njáll to Normandy and to the northwest of England, is an open question, which cannot be settled on the available evidence.
English: alternatively from the Middle English personal name Nele, a variant of Nell as a pet form of Elias (see Ellis ). Compare Nelson , Nielson .
Scottish and Irish: shortened form of McNeal (see McNeil ).