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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, German

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.


The surname Abel was first found in the counties of Kent, Derbyshire and Essex. "Abell was also an Essex family, although branches spread into the counties of Kent and Derby." [1]

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.


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:

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
  • Christopher Abel, age 36
  • 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 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. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  3. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  5. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  6. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  7. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  8. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  9. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  10. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. 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 18 March 2016 at 23:18.

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