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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, French

Where did the English Martel family come from? What is the English Martel family crest and coat of arms? When did the Martel family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Martel family history?

Martel is one of the names carried to England in the great wave of migration from Normandy following the Norman Conquest in 1066. It is based on the popular medieval given name Martin. It derives from the Latin Martinus, which comes from Mars, the Roman God of War.


Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Martel have been found, including Martel, Mortel, Martell, Mortell and others.

First found in Essex where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands of Abbess Roding by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. One of the most famous early references of the surname was William Martel (1130-1153), English steward of the royal households of King Henry I and King Stephen of England, castellan of Sherborne Castle until 1143.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Martel research. Another 199 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1130, 1204, 1130, 1153 and 1143 are included under the topic Early Martel History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 47 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Martel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Martel family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 39 words(3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


For many English families, the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Martel were among those contributors:

Martel Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Nicolas Martel, aged 15, settled in Louisiana in 1719
  • Nicholas Martel settled in Louisiana in 1719
  • Nicolas Martel, aged 15, arrived in Louisiana in 1719
  • Antonio Martel settled in New Orleans in 1778 with Francesca his wife and children
  • Antonio Martel, who settled with his wife Francesca Antonia, son Antonio 6, son Domingo 2, and daughter Blavina 11, in New Orleans in 1778

Martel Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Luis Martel, who arrived in Puerto Rico in 1816
  • Manuel Martel, who landed in Puerto Rico in 1823
  • Gaspar Martel, who arrived in Spanish Main in 1836
  • Jom Martel, aged 25, arrived in New Orleans, La in 1839
  • Albert Martel, who landed in Texas in 1850-1906

Martel Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Jas Adam De Martel, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1767


  • Diane Martel, American music video director and choreographer
  • Sherri Martel (1958-2007), born Sherri Russell, an American professional wrestler and manager, better known by her ring names, Sherri Martel and Sensational Sherri
  • Arlene Martel (1936-2014), American actress and acting coach, known for her roles in Star Trek, Hogan's Heroes, Perry Mason and The Twilight Zone
  • Philippe André Martel, French Brigadier General during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars from 1789 to 1815
  • Christiane Martel (b. 1932), born Christiane Magnani, a French actress and beauty pageant titleholder, Miss Universe (1953)
  • Elie Walter Martel (b. 1934), Canadian politician, Member of Provincial Parliament (1967-1987)
  • Shelley Dawn Marie Martel (b. 1963), Canadian politician, Member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for Sudbury East (1999-2007)
  • Didier Martel (b. 1971), retired French football midfielder
  • Yann Martel (b. 1963), Spanish-born, Canadian author, best known for the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi
  • Lucrecia Martel (b. 1966), Argentine film director



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  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  6. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  7. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  8. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  10. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Martel Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Martel 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 14 April 2015 at 08:59.

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