Morrell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Morrell is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. Morrell is a name that comes from the medieval given name Morel. The name was originally derived from the name More or Moore a nickname for a someone of dark complexion. This name stems from the Old French word Moor, meaning black man. [1]

Early Origins of the Morrell family

The surname Morrell was first found in Northumberland where one of the first records of the name was found at North Middleton, a township, in the parish of Hartburn. "This place, which was also called MiddletonMorell, from an ancient proprietor named Morell, was afterwards divided among various proprietors." [2]

"John Morel was seated in Norfolk in 1086 (Domesday) and another - if not the same Morel, occurs in Northumberland nine years afterwards. " [3]

Later the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included listings for Herveus Morel, Norfolk; Nicholas Morel, Norfolk; and Thomas Morel, Huntingdonshire. Morel (without surname), Cambridgeshire was also listed. [4]

One source notes that Yorkshire proved to be an ancient homestead of the family. "The West Riding [of Yorkshire] is now the principal home of the Morrells, but they are also to be found in the other divisions of the county. In the 13th century they were represented by the Morels in Norfolk, Hunts, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire." [5]

In Scotland, "Symon Morellus witnessed gift of the church of Molle to the Abbey of Kelso, c. 1190." [6]

We include this interesting passage about one on the family from Wallis' Anitquities of Northumberland:

"In the year 1095, Robert Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland, and his party, marched into Bamborough Castle for security, on the approach of the royal troops to chastise them for their treason. The King, William Rufus, besieged it in person. As traitors never think themselves safe anywhere, Mowbray secretly fled for sanctuary to St. Oswin's shrine at Tynemouth, where he was taken prisoner. His steward and kinsman, Morel, with a courage that would have done honour to a better cause, defended the Castle in the absence of his unfortunate lord. He defended it against all the forces of the King. The King had turned the siege into a blockade, and raised a fortress near it called Malvoisin, i.e. Bad Neighbour, some time before the Earl fled. Morel, not terrified by so many bad neighbours, still held out, with an astonishing perseverance and resolution, to the surprise of the King, who, beginning to be uneasy, tried to effect that by policy, which he could not do by force. He ordered the Earl to be led up to the very walls, and a declaration to be made, that if the Castle did not surrender, his eyes should be instantly put out. This succeeded to his wish. Morel no sooner beheld him in this im­minent danger, than he consented to yield upon terms. For his fidelity and affection to his lord, and his gallant defence, the King took him into his Royal protection and favour. A god-like action, thus generously to reward a faithful enemy."

While no exact date was given for this passage, we do know that "another John Morel (no doubt his descendant) held a fief in Northumberland in 1165." [3]

Early History of the Morrell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Morrell research. Another 229 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1317, 1202, 1620, 1704, 1795, 1839, 1788 and 1880 are included under the topic Early Morrell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Morrell Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Morrell, Morel, Morrel, Morrall, Morrill, Murrill and others.

Early Notables of the Morrell family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Mary Morrill (Morrel/Morrills/Morill) (c. 1620-1704), birth name of Mary Folger, English-born indentured servant in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, grandmother of Benjamin Franklin; Benjamin...
Another 31 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Morrell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Morrell Ranking

In the United States, the name Morrell is the 2,590th most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. [7]

United States Morrell migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Morrell name or one of its variants:

Morrell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Tho Morrell, who landed in Virginia in 1638 [8]
  • David Morrell, who settled in Virginia in 1656
  • George Morrell, who landed in Maryland in 1663 [8]
  • Christopher Morrell, who landed in Maryland in 1673 [8]
  • John Morrell, aged 22, who arrived in Virginia in 1684 [8]
Morrell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Morrell, aged 42, who arrived in New York in 1719 [8]
  • Mathew Morrell, who landed in New York in 1761 [8]
Morrell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Andrew Morrell, who arrived in New York in 1822 [8]
  • Abraham Morrell, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [8]
  • Daniel, Francis, George, John, Robert, Steven, and William Morrell all, who arrived in Pennsylvania between 1840 and 1860
  • Francisco Morrell, aged 22, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1860 [8]

Canada Morrell migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Morrell Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Michael Morrell, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mr. John Morrell U.E. born in Long Island, New York, USA who settled in Kings County, New Brunswick c. 1784 he enlisted in 1776 served in the 42nd Regiment, he died in 1818 [9]
  • Mr. Thomas Morrell U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [9]
Morrell Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Morrell, (b. 1825), aged 30, Cornish settler departing from Falmouth destined for Quebec, Canada aboard the ship "Barque John" on 3rd May 1855 which sank after striking the reef, he died in the sinking [10]
  • Mrs. Maria Morrell, (b. 1833), aged 22, Cornish settler departing from Falmouth destined for Quebec, Canada aboard the ship "Barque John" on 3rd May 1855 which sank after striking the reef, she died in the sinking [10]

Australia Morrell migration to Australia +

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

Morrell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

West Indies Morrell 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. [15]
Morrell Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mary Morrell and her husband settled in Barbados in 1694

Contemporary Notables of the name Morrell (post 1700) +

  • Kyle Morrell (1963-2020), American NFL football defensive back for the Minnesota Vikings in 1986
  • Mike Morrell (b. 1952), American politician, Member of the California State Senate (2014-)
  • Benjamin Morrell (1795-1838), American sea captain, explorer and trader
  • Wayne Beam Morrell Jr., American artist, Rockport, Massachusetts
  • George Morrell (1786-1845), American politician, Justice of Michigan State Supreme Court, 1836-43; Chief Justice of Michigan State Supreme Court, 1842-43
  • Edward de Veaux Morrell (1862-1917), American Republican politician, U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 5th District, 1900-07
  • Daniel Johnson Morrell (1821-1885), American Republican politician, U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 17th District, 1867-71; Presidential Elector for Pennsylvania, 1876; Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1884
  • Daniel Morrell, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Montgomery and Hamilton counties, 1834
  • Cynthia Hedge Morrell, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Louisiana, 2000 (alternate), 2004, 2008
  • Arthur A. Morrell, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Louisiana, 1996 (alternate), 2000, 2004, 2008; Candidate for U.S. Senator from Louisiana, 2004
  • ... (Another 30 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Ronald F Morrell (b. 1920), English Stoker 2nd Class serving for the Royal Navy from Chichester, Sussex, England, who sailed into battle and died in the HMS Hood sinking [16]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. R. Morrell (d. 1912), age unknown, English Fireman/Stoker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic, died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett [17]

The Morrell Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Bono animo esto
Motto Translation: Be of Good Courage

  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ 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
  10. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 27th September 2022).
  12. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from
  13. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The CAROLINE 1849. Retrieved from
  14. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ADELAIDE 1852. Retrieved
  15. ^
  16. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from
  17. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook