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


The ancient history of the Earl name begins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the family resided in the parish of Earley, in the diocese of Oxford.

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Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Earl include Earl, Earle, Earll, Earlls, Erle, Irle, Urles, Urle, Erl, Earls, Earles, Earlie, Earlee, Erlegh, Erligh, Erleigh, Earleigh and many more.

First found in the County of Somerset. The surname originates from a Saxon word "eorl" or "jarl" which described the elder or wise man of the village. In time the name came to mean the leader or ruler and finally, during mediaeval times it was used to signify a nobleman of the highest rank. Later, a branch of the family was found at Axmouth in Devon. "The manor [of Axmouth] formerly belonged to the abbey of Sion, in Middlesex, and was given at the Dissolution by Henry VIII. to his queen Catharine Parr, as part of her dower; it reverted at her death to the crown, and was granted by Edward VI., in 1552, to Walter Erle." [1]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Earl research. Another 649 words (46 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1120, 1160, 1616, 1653, 1662, 1859, 1812, 1812, 1590, 1667, 1586, 1665, 1614, 1648, 1615, 1615, 1678, 1758, 1601, 1665, 1650 and 1720 are included under the topic Early Earl History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 241 words (17 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Earl Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Earl family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 77 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Earl or a variant listed above:

Earl Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Ralph Earl, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Robert Earl came in the "Hercules" in 1643 to Massachusetts
  • Thomas Earl who settled in Barbados in 1680

Earl Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Roderick Earl, who arrived in North Carolina in 1740
  • Robert Earl settled in New York in 1775
  • Daniel Earl, who landed in New York in 1798
  • Daniel, Earl Jr., who arrived in New York in 1798
  • Jonas Earl, who arrived in New York in 1798


Earl Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Enoch Earl, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1813
  • Robert Earl, who landed in Alexandria, Va in 1820
  • John Earl, who arrived in New York in 1824
  • Lorentz Earl, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1838
  • Lawrence Earl, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1838

Earl Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Lt. Justus Earl U.E., "Justice", "Earle" born in New Jersey, USA who settled in Waterborough, Grand Lake, New Brunswick c. 1784 he served in the New Jersey Volunteers 3rd Battalion, he died in 1825
  • Mr. Philip Earl U.E., "Earle" born in New Jersey, USA who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784

Earl Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • William Earl, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1838 aboard the brig "Susan Maria Brooke" from Donegal
  • Eleanor Earl, aged 25, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1838 aboard the brig "Susan Maria Brooke" from Donegal
  • Margaret Earl, aged 20, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1838 aboard the brig "Susan Maria Brooke" from Donegal

Earl Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • William Earl, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • John Earl, Scottish convict from Glasgow, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • George Earl, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • John Earl arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Mariner" in 1847
  • Joseph Earl, aged 46, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Magdalena"


Earl Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Percy Earl arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Nelson" in 1842
  • Thomas Earl arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Nimroud" in 1860
  • William Earl, aged 24, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Earl Granville" in 1880
  • Jessie Earl, aged 18, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Earl Granville" in 1880

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  • Michael Earl (1959-2015), American four-time Emmy Award winning puppeteer, actor, writer, singer and songwriter, perhaps best known for his work as Mr. Snuffleupagus on Sesame Street (1978-81)
  • Anthony "Tony" Scully Earl (b. 1936), American politician
  • Robert Earl (b. 1951), American founder and CEO of Planet Hollywood International, Inc
  • Jimmy Earl, American jazz musician and composer
  • Harley J. Earl (1893-1969), American businessman, the first Vice President of Design at General Motors
  • Acie Boyd Earl (b. 1970), retired American professional NBA basketball player
  • Charles A. Earl, American Republican politician, Mayor of Oneida, New York, 1948-49
  • B. F. Earl, American Republican politician, Mayor of Niles, Michigan, 1907-09
  • Anthony Scully Earl (b. 1936), American Democrat politician, Member of Wisconsin State Assembly, 1969-74; Governor of Wisconsin, 1983-87 ; Candidate in primary for U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, 1988
  • Chris Earl, American politician, Representative from Missouri 9th District, 2004

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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: Ne Tentes Aut Perfice
Motto Translation: Attempt not or accomplish.

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  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  2. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  3. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  6. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  7. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  8. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  9. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  10. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  11. ...

The Earl Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Earl 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 March 2016 at 15:40.

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