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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, German

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

The name Abel was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. It comes from the given name Hevel, which means evanescence. It is also possibly derived from an Old German word which means noble one. The surname Abel was also a baptismal name meaning the son of Abel, and became a popular 13th century name meaning son.


Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Abell, Abel, Able, Habel, Abeel, Abelson, Abelle, Abele, Ablson, Ebelson, Abill, Abilson, Aball, Abeal, Eblson and many more.

First found in the county of Kent of south eastern England where they have held a family seat from very ancient times. They arrived in England with King William the Conqueror and the name is mentioned in the Battel Abbey Roll as Abell.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Abel research. Another 155 words(11 lines of text) covering the years 1540, 1578, 1675, 1584, 1655, 1667 and 1711 are included under the topic Early Abel History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 169 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Abel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Abel name or one of its variants:

  • Christopher Abel, age 36

Abel Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Robert Abel, who landed in Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1630
  • Stoffel Jansen Abel, who arrived in Long Island in 1664
  • Elizabeth Humphrey Abel, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1694

Abel Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Maria Abel, who arrived in New York in 1709
  • Johann Adam Abel, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732
  • Johann Adam Abel, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1732
  • Johann Jacob Abel, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732
  • Joseph Abel, who landed in Virginia in 1736

Abel Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Archibald Abel settled in Philadelphia in 1813
  • Johann Abel, aged 20, landed in New Orleans, La in 1843
  • Casper Abel, who landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1844
  • Johan Abel, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1848
  • John Abel, aged 38, landed in Missouri in 1848


  • John Jacob Abel (1857-1938), American biochemist and pharmacologist, he suggested the idea of the artificial kidney and later he isolated amino acids from the blood in 1914
  • Iorwith Wilbur Abel (1908-1987), American labor leader, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Walter Charles Abel (b. 1898), American actor and president of the American National Theater Academy
  • John Jacob Abel (1857-1938), American biochemist
  • Sir Frederick Augustus Abel (1827-1902), 1st Baronet, English chemist
  • Clamor Heinrich Abel (1634-1696), German composer, violinist and organist
  • Christian Ferdinand Abel (1682-1761), German Baroque violinist and cellist, son of Clamor H. Abel
  • Carl Friedrich Abel (1723-1787), German composer, son of Christian F. Abel
  • Sidney Gerald "Sid" Abel (1918-2000), Canadian professional NHL hockey player and coach, inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1969
  • Clarke Abel (1789-1826), British surgeon and naturalist who accompanied Lord Amherst on his mission to China (1816-1817)



  • The Abel Keller Genealogy by Walter R. McCarley and Florence Poe McCarley.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Vive le Roi
Motto Translation: Long life to the King.


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  1. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  2. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  3. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  5. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  6. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  8. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  10. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  11. ...

The Abel Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Abel 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 16 June 2014 at 15:44.

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