Fell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name was derived from the place named Fell in Cumberland which in turn was derived from the Icelandic name "fell" which meant a "fell or wild hill."

Early Origins of the Fell family

The surname Fell was first found in Dundee where "the Fells afford an instance of an occupation being hereditary in a family, the earliest recorded of the name i.e. in Dundee being Finlay Fell, butcher, who was admitted burgess on 7th June 1533. The trade descended from father to son for more than a century." [1]

"This surname is derived from a geographical locality. 'at the fell,' from residence on or near the fell; 'by frith and fell,' a common phrase in early poetry; a fell was a hill or moor open and unenclosed. Sheep that graze on such scanty pastures are called fell-sheep in Furness. " [2]

Early History of the Fell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fell research. Another 73 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1584, 1649, 1598, 1658, 1625, 1686, 1700, 1614 and 1702 are included under the topic Early Fell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fell Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Fell, Fells and others.

Early Notables of the Fell family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Samuel Fell D.D. (1584-1649), an English academic and clergyman, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford; Thomas Fell (1598-1658), vice-chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster; John Fell (1625-1686), an English churchman, Dean...
Another 44 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fell Ranking

In the United States, the name Fell is the 6,969th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [3]


United States Fell migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Fell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Fell, who landed in Virginia in 1622 [4]
  • Henry Fell, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Thomas Fell, who settled in Maine in 1624
  • William Fell, who landed in Virginia in 1654 [4]
  • Edward Fell, who landed in Maryland in 1659 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Fell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Johan Peter Fell, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1748 [4]
  • Casper Fell, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1752 [4]
  • Margaretha Fell, who landed in America in 1754 [4]
Fell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Christopher Fell, who arrived in New York, NY in 1817 [4]
  • Robert Fell, who settled in New Orleans, LA
  • Caspar, Charles, Henry, James, John, Mary, Phillip, Richard, Robert, and Thomas Fell all, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1804 and 1850
  • Nancy A Fell, who arrived in New York in 1850 [4]
  • Mr. Fell, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Fell migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Fell Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • W Fell, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907

Australia Fell migration to Australia +

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

Fell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Benjamin Fell, British convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Calcutta" in February 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Mr. Charles Fell, 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) [6]
  • Mr. Henry Fell, English convict who was convicted in West Riding, Yorkshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Eliza" on 25th June 1828, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Mr. John Fell, English convict who was convicted in Liverpool, Merseyside, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "David Lyon" on 29th April 1830, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [8]
  • Mr. John Fell, (b. 1806), aged 25 who was convicted in York, Yorkshire, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Elizabeth" on 3rd October 1831, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1832 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Fell 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:

Fell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Fell, aged 33, a baker, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • Elizabeth Fell, aged 31, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • John Fell, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1840
  • Robert Fell, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Lady Nugent
  • William Fell, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Fell 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. [10]
Fell Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • John Fell, who settled in Barbados in 1668
Fell Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Mary Fell, who settled in Jamaica in 1716

Contemporary Notables of the name Fell (post 1700) +

  • Terry Fell (1921-2007), American country musician
  • Mary Fell (b. 1947), American poet and academic
  • Jesse W. Fell (1808-1887), American Illinois businessman and close friend of Abraham Lincoln
  • George Edward Fell (1849-1918), American physician who worked on artificial ventilation and electrocution
  • Derek Fell, American writer and photographer of art, travel and garden books
  • Norman Fell (1924-1998), American film and television actor, most famous for his role as landlord Mr. Roper on the sitcom Three's Company
  • Laurence T. Fell, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Jersey, 1904 [11]
  • John Fell (1721-1798), American politician, Delegate to New Jersey convention to ratify U.S. constitution from Bergen County, 1787 [11]
  • Harold B. Fell, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Oklahoma, 1940 (alternate), 1956 [11]
  • David Newlin Fell (1840-1919), American politician, Justice of Pennsylvania State Supreme Court, 1894-1910; Chief Justice of Pennsylvania State Supreme Court, 1910-15 [11]
  • ... (Another 45 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Miss Edith Fell (1877-1914), Canadian Third Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [12]


  1. ^ 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)
  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. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  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. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/calcutta
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th February 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/eliza
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd June 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/david-lyon
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th March 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/elizabeth
  10. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  11. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 19) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  12. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html


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