Show ContentsFreel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Many of the Irish surnames that are now common throughout the Western world have Gaelic origins. The Irish Gaelic form of the name Freel is O Firgil, which later became O Frigil; the name means "man of valor."

Early Origins of the Freel family

The surname Freel was first found in County Donegal (Irish: Dún na nGall), northwest Ireland in the province of Ulster, sometimes referred to as County Tyrconnel, where they held a family seat from very ancient times. The O'Firghil were descended from Eoghan, brother of St. Columcille. They were hereditary co-arbs of Kilmacrenan in County Donegal.

Early History of the Freel family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Freel research. Another 55 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1203, 1299, 1573 and 1538 are included under the topic Early Freel History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Freel Spelling Variations

During the Middle Ages, a person's name was often recorded under several spelling variations during a single lifetime because it was essentially up to the individual scribe's discretion as to how to record an individual's name. Research into the name Freel revealed many variations, including Friel, Freel, O'Friel, O'Freel, Freiel, O'Freiel, Frehill and many more.

Early Notables of the Freel family (pre 1700)

Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Freel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Freel Ranking

In the United States, the name Freel is the 16,163rd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1]

Canada Freel migration to Canada +

Often leaving from racial discrimination and colonial oppression, thousands of families left Ireland in the 19th century for North America aboard passenger ships. Many early immigrants found a plot of land to call their own, something unimaginable for most Irish families. Those that arrived later were often accommodated as laborers since there was a large demand for cheap labor. This was the fate for many of the families that arrived in North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Whether they became agrarian settlers or industrial workers, the Irish that came to North America were invaluable for rapid development of the infant nations of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name Freel or a variant listed above:

Freel Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Johan Freel U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [2]
  • Mr. John Freel U.E., "Freele" who settled in Matilda [South Dundas], Ontario c. 1784 [2]

Australia Freel migration to Australia +

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

Freel Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

Contemporary Notables of the name Freel (post 1700) +

  • Edward J. Freel, American politician, Secretary of State of Delaware from 1994 to 2001
  • Aleta Freel (1907-1935), American stage actress
  • Ryan Paul Freel (1976-2012), American Major League Baseball player who played from 2001 to 2009
  • Frank P. Freel, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1924 [4]
  • Leonard Freel Woodcock (1911-2001), President of the United Auto Workers (UAW)

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  3. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd March 2022). Retrieved from
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 6) . Retrieved from on Facebook