Show ContentsAnsel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Ansel is a name that came to England in the 11th century wave of migration that was set off by the Norman Conquest of 1066. Ansel comes from the Germanic personal name Ansell composed of the elements ans, which means god, and helm, which means protection or helmet. 1

Early Origins of the Ansel family

The surname Ansel was first found in the English county of Kent where they were granted lands shortly after the Norman Conquest by King William the Conqueror in 1066 A.D. The family is believed to be descended from Pierre Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ansell being the abbreviation adopted by most branches of this noble Norman family who accompanied the Conqueror into England.

Saint Anselm of Aosta (c. 1033-1109), was a theologian, Abbot of Bec, and Archbishop of Canterbury. He was "born at or near Aosta about the year 1033, or two years before the death of Cnut, king of England, and two years before William the Conqueror became duke of Normandy. William the Conqueror received his death-wound in 1087. In the presence of Anselm we are told that he who to most men seemed harsh and terrible became so mild that bystanders looked on with amazement. " 2

Early History of the Ansel family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ansel research. Another 91 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1660, 1689 and 1929 are included under the topic Early Ansel History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ansel Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Ansel were recorded, including Ansell, Ancell, Ancelle, Anselm, Anselme, Anstrell and many more.

Early Notables of the Ansel family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • Pierre Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury

Ansel Ranking

In France, the name Ansel is the 2,579th most popular surname with an estimated 2,500 - 3,000 people with that name. 3

United States Ansel migration to the United States +

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Ansel arrived in North America very early:

Ansel Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • David Ansel, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1751 4
  • David Ansel, who settled in Philadelphia in 1752
Ansel Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Stephen Ansel, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1839 4
  • Christian Ansel, who arrived in America in 1854 4

Contemporary Notables of the name Ansel (post 1700) +

  • William Henry Ansel Jr. (1914-1988), American Democratic Party politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates from Hampshire County, 1943-48; West Virginia State Treasurer, 1949-51 5
  • Martin Frederick Ansel (1850-1945), American Democratic Party politician, Member of South Carolina State House of Representatives, 1882-88; Governor of South Carolina, 1907-11; Defeated, 1902 5
  • Julius Ansel, American politician, Candidate in primary for Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts, 1963 5
  • Edgar Ansel Mowrer (1892-1977), American journalist who won the 1933 Pulitzer Prize for Correspondence
  • Ansel Easton Adams (1902-1984), American photographer and environmentalist, best known for his black-and-white photographs of the American West and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom 6
  • Ansel B. Solenberger, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Virginia, 1944 7
  • Ansel Tracy Walling (1824-1896), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio (1875-1877)
  • Ansel Watrous (1838-1911), American newspaper editor and historian, known for his History of Larimer County, Colorado, published in 1911
  • Ansel Briggs (1806-1881), American politician, the 1st Governor of Iowa, from 1846 to 1850
  • Ansel Elgort (b. 1994), American actor, son of Arthur Elgort

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. 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)
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 23) . Retrieved from
  6. Ansel Adams. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Ansel Adams. Retrieved from
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 28) . Retrieved from on Facebook