Abel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.[1]

There may be a Norman connection of the family too, as there in the Mémoires de la Society des Antiquaires de la Normandie, John de Aubeale was security in Normandy, 1200, for Roger de Plomes. [2]

Early Origins of the Abel family

The surname Abel was first found in the counties of Kent, Derbyshire and Essex.

"N. Abel held lands from Lanfranc in Kent 1086 [3]; and 'Joh' Abel et Consorti Sue' were among the Kentish gentry summoned by a writ of Edward I. in the first year of his reign 'to be present at his and the Queen's coronation at Westminster on the Sunday next after the feast of St. Valentine the Martyr.' " [4]

"Abell was also an Essex family, although branches spread into the counties of Kent and Derby." [5]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 elude to the scattered influence of the family at that time, both as a surname and a forename: Richard Abel, Buckinghamshire; Abel le Specer. Derbyshire; Henry Abel, Nottinghamshire; and Allan Abel, Cambridgeshire. [6]

Early records of the name mention Abel de Etton, 1221, Wales and William Abell was documented in County Essex in the year of 1197. Richard Abell was documented in the County Somerset, 1300. [1]

Scotland was a familiar home to the family too. Abel (d. 764), Archbishop of Rheims, "was a native of Scotland and Benedictine monk. In the early part of the eighth century he left England in company with Boniface, to aid him in his missionary work in Germany, and he did not again return to this country. " [7]

Still in Scotland, we found "Master Abell, Clericus Regis, was one of the members of a mission sent to England to ask restoration of the earldom of Huntingdon in 1237. He also appears in documents concerning the Abbey of Kelso in 1235, and in 1253 'valuing his own promotion more than the honour of the king or kingdom caused himself to be consecrated bishop by the pope.' " [8]

Early History of the Abel family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Abel research. Another 223 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1540, 1578, 1623, 1714, 1388, 1387, 1413, 1413, 1512, 1696, 1697, 1430, 1635, 1540, 1516, 1528, 1540, 1660, 1716, 1679, 1681, 1578, 1675, 1861, 1858, 1633, 1584, 1655, 1667 and 1711 are included under the topic Early Abel History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Abel Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Abel family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Thomas Abell (d. 1540), Catholic martyr who studied at Oxford and took the degree of M.A. in 1516. "Nothing else is known of his early life, nor when it was that he entered the service of Katharine of Aragon; but it was certainly before the year 1528, when he received a New Year's gift from the King as her chaplain. Abell was of course deprived of his benefice of Bradwell; but as the offence charged against him in the act was only misprision, he seems to have remained in the Tower for six...
Another 244 words (17 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Abel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Abel Ranking

In the United States, the name Abel is the 1,774th most popular surname with an estimated 17,409 people with that name. [9] However, in France, the name Abel is ranked the 3,097th most popular surname with an estimated 2,000 - 2,500 people with that name. [10]

United States Abel migration to the United States +

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 [11]
  • Stoffel Jansen Abel, who arrived in Long Island in 1664 [11]
  • Elizabeth Humphrey Abel, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1694 [11]
Abel Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Maria Abel, who arrived in New York in 1709 [11]
  • Johann Adam Abel, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732 [11]
  • Johann Adam Abel, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1732 [11]
  • Johann Jacob Abel, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732 [11]
  • Joseph Abel, who landed in Virginia in 1736 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Abel Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Archibald Abel, who settled in Philadelphia in 1813
  • Christopher Abel, age 36, who arrived in America in 1820
  • Johann Abel, aged 20, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1843 [11]
  • Casper Abel, who landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1844 [11]
  • Johan Abel, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1848 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Abel migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Abel Settlers in Australia in the 18th Century
Abel Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Mary Abel, British Convict who was convicted in Warwick, Warwickshire, England for 7 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Experiment" on 4th December 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • Mr. George Abel, (Reid, James, Clark), Scottish convict who was convicted in Aberdeen, Scotland for 10 years, transported aboard the "Duncan" on 10th December 1840, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [14]
  • Mr. Abel Lancaster, (b. 1820), aged 21, English farm labourer who was convicted in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England for 10 years for house breaking, transported aboard the "Barossa" on 27th August 1841, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [15]

New Zealand Abel migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Abel Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Abel, (b. 1837), aged 25, British farm labourer travelling from London aboard the ship "Echunga" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 24th December 1862 [16]
  • Mrs. Jessie Abel, (b. 1839), aged 23, British housemaid travelling from London aboard the ship "Echunga" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 24th December 1862 [16]
  • Mr. William Abel, (b. 1846), aged 25, Scottish farm labourer from Aberdeenshire, Scotland, travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship'Merope' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 25th August 1871 [16]
  • Miss Jessie Abel, (b. 1848), aged 23, Scottish housemaid from Aberdeenshire, Scotland, travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship'Merope' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 25th August 1871 [16]

Contemporary Notables of the name Abel (post 1700) +

  • Iorwith Wilbur Abel (1908-1987), American labor leader, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Alan Abel (1928-2020), American percussionist, music educator, and inventor of musical instruments from Hobart, Indiana
  • 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
  • Walter Charles Abel (b. 1898), American actor and president of the American National Theater Academy
  • Sir Frederick Augustus Abel (1827-1902), 1st Baronet, English chemist
  • Gregory Edward "Greg" Abel (b. 1962), Canadian businessman from Edmonton, Alberta, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Vice-Chairman of non-insurance operations of Berkshire Hathaway
  • Edward William Abel CBE (1931-2021), British chemist, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry (1996-1998)
  • Ms. Anne Patricia Abel B.E.M. (b. 1951), British Superintendent for Harlesden Unit at St John Ambulance, was appointed the British Empire Medal for voluntary service to First Aid Training in London [17]
  • Clarke Abel (1789-1826), British surgeon and naturalist who accompanied Lord Amherst on his mission to China (1816-1817) [18]
  • Clamor Heinrich Abel (1634-1696), German composer, violinist and organist
  • ... (Another 8 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Abel Motto +

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.

Suggested Readings for the name Abel +

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

  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 1 of 3
  5. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  8. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  9. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  10. ^ http://www.journaldesfemmes.com/nom-de-famille/nom/
  11. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 29th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/barwell
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 22nd March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel-and-experiment
  14. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/duncan
  15. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/barossa
  16. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  17. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, www.thegazette.co.uk/honours-lists
  18. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 17 Apr. 2019

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