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

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

The name Cecil reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Cecil family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Cecil family lived in Devon. The name refers to the family's former place of residence, St Cecile, a Norman area of Flanders.


Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Cecil include Cecil, Cecill, Cecyll, Cyssel, Cessell, Sitsilt, Sicelt, Seycil and many more.

First found in Devon where they are "probably a branch of the Counts of Gand, whose arms (barry) it bears, with escutcheons charged with the lion rampant of Flanders. The arms are still borne in Flanders by a family of the same name." [1] Maurice de Cassel was probably one of the first to be listed in England during the reign of William I. His son, Robert de Kessel or Ciselle, assisted Robert Fitz-Hamon in the conquest of Glamorganshire in 1093. [1] Another reference claims "the family, doubtless of Norman origin, can be traced to Robert Sitsilt, who in 1091 assisted Robert Fitz-Hamon in the conquest of Glamorganshire." [2] Conflicting data is quite common with early records such as these. Continuing on: "from his descendant [Robert Kessel or Robert Sitsilt] Walter de Alterens, living 1165, descended the noble house of Cecil." [1]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cecil research. Another 229 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1379, 1520, 1598, 1550, 1553, 1558, 1572, 1572, 1563, 1612, 1591, 1668, 1605, 1612, 1657, 1640, 1653, 1648, 1683, 1660, 1668, 1666, 1694, 1670, 1716, 1701, 1674, 1721, 1712 and 1715 are included under the topic Early Cecil History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 287 words (20 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cecil Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Cecils to arrive on North American shores:

Cecil Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Cecil, who landed in Maryland in 1658

Cecil Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Joseph Cecil arrived in New York in 1823
  • Thomas Cecil arrived in Philadelphia in 1866
  • A. P. Cecil, aged 27, who emigrated to the United States from London, in 1892
  • Miss Celine Cecil, aged 38, who settled in America, in 1895

Cecil Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Mrs. Cecil Cecil, aged 57, who emigrated to the United States, in 1907
  • Kate Cecil, aged 30, who landed in America from London, England, in 1907
  • Ellen Cecil, aged 49, who landed in America from London, England, in 1908
  • Florence Mary Cecil, aged 46, who emigrated to the United States from Hatfield, England, in 1910

Cecil Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • Henry Cecil, aged 48, who emigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1913

Cecil Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Cecil, English convict from Gloucester, who was transported aboard the "Adamant" on March 16, 1821, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Henry Cecil, aged 21, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Velocity"


  • Brett Aarion Cecil (b. 1986), American Major League Baseball pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays
  • Rex Ralston Cecil (1916-1966), American Major League Baseball starting pitcher who played for the Boston Red Sox (1944-1945)
  • Charles Douglas "Chuck" Cecil (b. 1964), American former NFL football player, current defensive secondary coach of the St. Louis Rams
  • Admiral Charles Purcell Cecil (1893-1944), American Naval officer awarded the Navy Cross for his actions at the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands on 26 October 1942
  • Henry Cecil (1902-1976), pen name of Henry Cecil Leon, an English judge and a writer of fiction about the British legal system; his 1955 novel Brothers in Law was made into a film in 1957
  • Lord Edward Christian David Gascoyne- Cecil (1902-1986), English literary critic
  • Robert Arthur James Gascoyne Cecil KG GCVO PC FRS (1893-1972), 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, an English Conservative statesman, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1895-1902)
  • Edgar Algernon Robert Gascoyne- Cecil CH, PC, QC (1864-1958), 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, English lawyer, politician and diplomat awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1937
  • Mr. C. Cecil (d. 1912), aged 20, English Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • James Edward Hubert Gascoyne Cecil (1861-1947), English Conservative politician



  • 300 Years of Cecils in America 1665-1971 by Alta Cecil Koch.
  • The Revolutionary Soldiers: Charles Andrew, Thomas Archbold, and Joshua Cecil, and Their Descendants by Electa Iantha Baltzell Lochner.

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: Cor unum via una
Motto Translation: One heart one way.


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  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.

Other References

  1. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  2. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  4. 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).
  5. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  6. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. 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).
  10. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  11. ...

The Cecil Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Cecil 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 17 June 2015 at 14:29.

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