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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Nankivell family come from? What is the English Nankivell family crest and coat of arms? When did the Nankivell family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Nankivell family history?

The Nankivell surname was taken on from a place name in the Parish of St. Mawgan, Pyclar, Cornwall. The place name is derived from the Cornish "nans," meaning "valley," and the personal name Cuvel.


Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Nankivell, Nankevill, Nankivel, Nanskevell, Nankivel, Nankevell, Nancekievill and many more.

First found in Cornwall, where early records show that lands at St Columb Major were granted to Odoni de Nanscuvel and Rose his wife, in 1324.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nankivell research. Another 134 words(10 lines of text) covering the years 1400, 1495, 1499, 1602, and 1620 are included under the topic Early Nankivell History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 51 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nankivell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


An examination into the immigration and passenger lists has discovered a number of people bearing the name Nankivell:

Nankivell Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • John Nankivell, who arrived in Maryland in 1833


  • Frank Nankivell (1869-1959), Australian-born, American illustrator, painter and printmaker
  • Robert Rogers Nankivell, pioneer and surveyor of New Zealand, who arrived there aboard the "Bolton" on April 21st 1840
  • Sir Rex Nankivell (1898-1977), New Zealand born, art dealer and collector in London, England
  • Joice NanKivell (1887-1982), Australian author, journalist and humanitarian


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  1. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  2. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  3. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  4. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  5. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  7. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  11. ...

The Nankivell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Nankivell Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 7 June 2012 at 21:06.

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