Cole History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Cole history begins in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. Quite distinct from Devon, the adjoining county, Cornwall had its own spoken language until the late 18th century. The Cole history began here. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames were derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. The Cole family originally lived in south west England. Their name, however, is derived from the Old English word coll, which means hill, and indicates that the original bearer lived near such a land form.

Cole is a hamlet in the parish of Pitcomb, union of Wincanton, hundred of Bruton, in Somerset and is a tything, in the parish, union, and hundred of Malmesbury, Malmesbury and Kingswood, in Wiltshire. [1]

Alternatively, the name could have been "derived from the name of an ancestor. 'the son of Nicholas,' from nickname Cole. " [2]

The name is also a "very ancient Teutonic personal name. In Domesday Book, it appears as a baptismal and later in the [Hundredorum Rolls] as a family name. " [3]

"The distribution in the Domesday Book of 1086 suggests that it is more often from the Old English Cola, an original byname from Old English col 'coal' in the sense 'coal-black, swarthy' " [4]

Interestingly "Koyl, Coyll, Coil, or Coel was an ancient name, borne by two kings of Britain, the first of whom reigned A.D. 125." [5] These may actually refer to Old King Cole. It is generally thought that this nursery rhyme was probably based on a real person; however there are various theories as to his origin.

Early Origins of the Cole family

The surname Cole was first found in south west England. "Essentially south of England names, especially in the south - west, rarely occurring north of a line drawn west from the Wash. Cole is best distributed and has its principal homes in Devon and Wiltshire. Coles is most numerous in Somerset. " [6]

The first record of the name was found in the Domesday Book of 1086 which listed Cola and Cole. [7] From this earliest record we look to Kent to find Cola filius Lanterii there c. 1145 and a few years later, we find Robertus filius Cole listed in the Assize Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1206. Geoffrey, Richard Cole were both listed in 1148 in Winton, Hampshire and a few years later as Knights Templar in 1185. [4]

Moving further north, in Yorkshire the Latin source "Cartularium Abbatiale de Whiteby, Ordinis S. Benedicti" noted Rand' filius Cole temp. 13th century. Later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Johannes Cole and Elias Cole as holding lands there at that time. [2]

Early History of the Cole family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cole research. Another 90 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1500, 1580, 1622, 1681, 1656, 1663, 1627, 1697, 1616, 1697, 1659, 1660, 1590, 1680, 1633, 1713, 1634 and 1797 are included under the topic Early Cole History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cole Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Cole, Coles, Coal, Coale, Coalas and others.

Early Notables of the Cole family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Henry Cole (1500?-1580), Dean of St. Paul's, a native of Godshill in the Isle of Wight; Richard Cole, Sheriff of Newcastle; Thomas Cole (1622-1681), an English politician, Member of Parliament for Hampshire (1656), High Sheriff of Hampshire in 1663; Thomas Cole (1627?-1697), an English independent minister; William Coles (1616-1697), an English lawyer and politician, Member of Parliament for Downton in 1659 and 1660; Eunice Cole (c. 1590-1680), English...
Another 76 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cole Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cole World Ranking

In the United States, the name Cole is the 108th most popular surname with an estimated 198,960 people with that name. [8] However, in Canada, the name Cole is ranked the 268th most popular surname with an estimated 15,635 people with that name. [9] And in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Cole is the 97th popular surname with an estimated 326 people with that name. [10] Australia ranks Cole as 164th with 18,763 people. [11] New Zealand ranks Cole as 168th with 3,140 people. [12] The United Kingdom ranks Cole as 128th with 39,146 people. [13]

Ireland Migration of the Cole family to Ireland

Some of the Cole family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Cole migration to the United States +

Discovered in the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Cole:

Cole Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Francis Cole, who arrived in Virginia in 1616 [14]
  • Mrs. William Cole, who arrived in Virginia in 1616 [14]
  • Jon Cole, who landed in Virginia in 1618 [14]
  • Samuel Cole, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1630 [14]
  • Richard Cole, who arrived in Maryland in 1633 [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Cole Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Sara Cole, who landed in Virginia in 1704 [14]
  • Jeremiah Cole, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [14]
  • Geo Cole, who arrived in Virginia in 1718 [14]
  • Hance Jareck Cole, aged 26, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732 [14]
  • Diana Cole, who arrived in Maryland in 1740 [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Cole Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Hugh Cole, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1803-1827 [14]
  • Patrick Cole, who landed in New York in 1812 [14]
  • William Cole, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812 [14]
  • Charles Cole, who landed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania in 1833 [14]
  • Ellen Cole, aged 25, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1835 [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Cole Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mr. Arthur Cole, (b. 1877), aged 27, Cornish miner travelling aboard the ship "Campania" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 20th February 1904 en route to Hancock, Michigan, USA [15]
  • Mr. Ernest Cole, (b. 1880), aged 25, Cornish miner travelling aboard the ship "Philadelphia" arriving at Ellis Island, New York in 1905 en route to Michigan, USA [15]
  • Mrs. Kate Cole, (b. 1881), aged 24, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Philadelphia" arriving at Ellis Island, New York in 1905 en route to Houghton, Michigan, USA [15]

Canada Cole migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Cole Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • John Cole, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mary Cole, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Thomas Cole, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Isaac Cole, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Wigel Cole, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Cole Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Levi Cole, who landed in Canada in 1828
  • Elisha Cole, who arrived in Canada in 1831
  • James Cole, who landed in Canada in 1833
  • Catharine Cole, aged 35, a widow, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the schooner "Sarah" from Belfast, Ireland
  • James Cole, aged 12, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the schooner "Sarah" from Belfast, Ireland
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Cole Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • V W Cole, who landed in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907

Australia Cole migration to Australia +

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

Cole Settlers in Australia in the 18th Century
  • Miss Elizabeth Cole, (b. 1758), aged 29, English convict who was convicted in Exeter, Devon, England for 7 years for burglary, transported aboard the "Charlotte" on 13th May 1787, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, she died in 1821, listed as transferred to the Friendship at Rio de Janeiro then transferred again [16]
  • Miss Mary Cole, English convict who was convicted in Devon, England for life, transported aboard the "Britannia III" on 18th July 1798, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [17]
Cole Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Cole, British convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Calcutta" in February 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, the settlement was listed as abandoned and most of the convicts transported to Tasmania on the "Queen" in 1804 [18]
  • John Cole, English convict from Kent, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia [19]
  • Miss Frances Cole, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Canada" in March 1810, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [20]
  • Miss Honora Cole, (Hannah), (b. 1789), aged 24, Irish convict who was convicted in Limerick, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Catherine" on 8th December 1813, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [21]
  • Mr. James Cole, British Convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 27th October 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [22]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Cole 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:

Cole Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Henry Cole, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Adelaide
  • John Cole, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Robert Cole, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Thomas Cole, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • George Cole, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Adelaide
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Cole migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [23]
Cole Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Jo Cole, aged 20, who landed in Barbados in 1635 [14]
  • Mr. John Cole, (b. 1615), aged 20, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Alexander" arriving in Barbados in 1635 [24]

Contemporary Notables of the name Cole (post 1700) +

  • Nat King Cole (1917-1965), stage name of Nathaniel Adams Coles, American jazz singer widely considered one of the most important musical personalities in United States history
  • Joanna Cole (1944-2020), American author The Magic School Bus series, which sold more than 93 million copies in 13 countries
  • Lionel Frederick "Freddy" Cole (1931-2020), American jazz singer and pianist, brother of Nat King Cole
  • Richie Cole (1948-2020), American jazz saxophonist, composer, and arranger
  • Charlie Cole (1955-2019), American photojournalist, World Press Photo of the Year winner 1989
  • Richard E. Cole (1915-2019), American air force officer, last surviving member of the Doolittle Raid, co-pilot to Jimmy Doolittle
  • Bruce Cole (1938-2018), American humanist, Chairman of the NEH (2001–2009), Presidential Citizens Medal recipient (2008)
  • Olivia Carlena Cole (1942-2018), American Emmy Award winning actress from Memphis, Tennessee, known for her role as Chicken George's wife, Matilda in the 1977 miniseries Roots
  • Fred Cole (1948-2017), American rock singer and guitarist, known for his work with The Lollipop Shoppe, Dead Moon, and Pierced Arrows
  • Natalie Maria Cole (1950-2015), American nine-time Grammy Award winning, twenty-one time Grammy Nominated singer, songwriter and performer who sold over 30 million records worldwide, daughter of jazz legend Nat King Cole
  • ... (Another 27 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Air New Zealand Flight 901
  • Mr. John Wright Cole (d. 1979), New Zealander passenger, from Westmere, Auckland, New Zealand aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; he died in the crash [25]
Empress of Ireland
  • Mrs. Annie Cole (1872-1914), née Armitage Canadian Second Class Passenger from Princeton, British Columbia, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [26]
Grover Shoe factory
  • Mr. James R. Cole, American employee of the Grover Shoe factory in Brockton, Massachusetts on 20th March 1905 when the boiler exploded and collapsed the wooden building; he died [27]
Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. Alfred M.  Cole (1868-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [28]
HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. John Alan Cole (1905-1941), Australian Lieutenant from Double Bay, New South Wales, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [29]
  • Mr. John Vincent Cole (1922-1941), Australian Ordinary Seaman from Dulwich Hill, New South Wales, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [29]
  • Mr. Sydney Arthur William Cole (1916-1941), Australian Able Seaman from Taringa, Queensland, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [29]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. William G Cole (b. 1917), English Marine serving for the Royal Marine from Basingstoke, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [30]
  • Mr. John H Cole (b. 1922), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Salford, Lancashire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [30]
  • Mr. George D Cole (b. 1919), English Marine serving for the Royal Marine from Thistleton, Rutland, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [30]
  • Mr. Albert E Cole (b. 1923), English Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Stamford, Lincolnshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [30]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Richard Cole, British Petty Officer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [31]
  • Mr. James Cole, British Lead Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [31]
  • Mr. Daniel Charles Rex Cole, British Signalman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [31]
  • Mr. Charles Cole, British Cook S, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [31]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Stanley Cole, British Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [32]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. William Henry Cole, English Second Intermediate 3rd Engineer from Cirencester, Glouchester, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [33]
SS Newfoundland
  • Mr. Charles Cole (1890-1914), Newfoundlander from Elliston, who on the 30th March 1914 he was part of the Seal Crew of the "SS Newfoundland" leaving the ship to intercept the Stephano which took him to the hunting grounds, he disembarked to begin sealing, but was caught in a thickening storm, attempting to return to the Newfoundland he and the 132 crew made camp for two days the sealers were stranded on the ice in a blizzard attempting to return to the ship, he died during this time
SS Southern Cross
  • Mr. John Cole (1887-1914), Newfoundlander from Colliers who was aboard the "SS Southern Cross" when it is suspected she sank between the 31st March 1914 and early April during the storm with a heavy load of pelts; no survivors were ever found
  • Mr. Edward Cole (1883-1914), Newfoundlander from Colliers who was aboard the "SS Southern Cross" when it is suspected she sank between the 31st March 1914 and early April during the storm with a heavy load of pelts; no survivors were ever found
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Charles Warren Cole, American Sergeant from Washington, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [34]
  • Mr. David Lester Cole, American Ensign from California, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [34]


The Cole 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: Deum Cole regem serva
Motto Translation: Worship God, obey the King.


Suggested Readings for the name Cole +

  • Cole Foot Prints by Camelia T. Denys.

  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Dixon, Bernard Homer, Surnames. London: John Wilson and son, 1857. Print
  6. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  7. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  8. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  9. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  10. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  11. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  12. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  13. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  14. ^ 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)
  15. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  16. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retrieved 4th February 2021, retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/charlotte)
  17. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/Britannia
  18. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/calcutta
  19. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Ann voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1809 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/ann/1809
  20. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/canada
  21. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 2nd January 2021, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/catherine
  22. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  23. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  24. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 28th September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  25. ^ Mount Erebus, Memorial, Roll of Remembrance (Retrieved 2018, February 21st). Retrieved from http://www.erebus.co.nz/memorialandawards/rollofremembrance.aspx
  26. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  27. ^ California Digital Newspaper from 21st March 1905 (retrieved on 5th August 2021.) Retrieved from https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=SFC19050321.2.19&e=-------en--20--1--txt-txIN--------1
  28. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  29. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  30. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  31. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  32. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  33. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  34. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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