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


Cornwall, one of the original six "Celtic nations" is the homeland to the surname Honeywell. A revival of the Cornish language which began in the 9th century AD has begun. No doubt this was the language spoken by distant forebears of the Honeywell family. Though surnames became common during medieval times, English people were formerly known only by a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames were adopted in medieval England is fascinating. Many Cornish surnames appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames. The name Honeywell is a local type of surname and the Honeywell family lived in Devon. Their name however, is derived from the Old English words hunig and welle, which means honey and well, respectively, and indicates that the original bearer lived near a spring or well where there was an abundance of honeycombs.

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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 Honeywell, Honeywill, Honnywill, Honiwell and many more.

First found in Devon, where they held a family seat from ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Honeywell research. Another 224 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1500, 1524, and 1642 are included under the topic Early Honeywell History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Honeywell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Honeywell were

Honeywell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Edward Honeywell who sailed to Charleston South Carolina in 1821

Honeywell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Vinecombe Honeywell arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duke of Wellington" in 1851

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  • Mark Charles Honeywell (1874-1964), American electronics industrialist, founder and eponym of Honeywell Inc


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  1. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  2. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  3. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  4. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  5. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  6. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  8. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  10. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  11. ...

The Honeywell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Honeywell 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 27 October 2010 at 13:41.

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