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

Origins Available: English, German


The history of the Joel name began with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from the baptismal name Joel. The surname Joel referred to the son of Joel which belongs to the category of patronymic surnames. In Old English, patronyms were formed by adding a variety of suffixes to personal names, which changed over time and from place to place. For example, after the Norman Conquest, sunu and sune, which meant son, were the most common patronymic suffixes. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the most common patronymic names included the word filius, which meant son. By the 14th century, the suffix son had replaced these earlier versions. Surnames that were formed with filius or son were more common in the north of England and it was here that the number of individuals without surnames was greatest at this time.

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Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Joel family name include Jewell, Jewall, Jule, Joel, Jouel and others.

First found in Wiltshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Joel research. Another 99 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1560, 1559, 1522 and 1571 are included under the topic Early Joel History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Joel surname or a spelling variation of the name include :

Joel Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Benjamin Joel, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1785

Joel Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Joseph Joel, who arrived in Arkansas in 1877
  • Moses Joel, who landed in Arkansas in 1887
  • Jake Joel, who landed in Arkansas in 1892

Joel Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Martha Joel, aged 20, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alumbagh" in 1875

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  • William Martin "Billy" Joel (b. 1949), famous American singer and songwriter, six-time Grammy Award winner, reportedly the sixth best selling artist in the United States
  • Sergeant First Class Lawrence Joel (1928-1984), United States military veteran, recipient of the Medal of Honor
  • Alexander Joel (b. 1971), English born, German pianist and conductor
  • Joel Joel (1836-1893), founder of the Joel family of England who made a fortune in diamonds in South Africa
  • Karl Amson Joel (1889-1982), German-Jewish textile merchant and manufacturer


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  1. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  2. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  3. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  4. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  5. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  6. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  7. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  8. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  9. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  10. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  11. ...

The Joel Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Joel 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 8 May 2014 at 05:59.

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