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

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

The surname Nail is a German occupational surname that evolved in the region known as the Rhineland. Germans at first used only one name, but population growth and increased travel in medieval times caused confusion between people of the same name, forcing the people to adopt hereditary surnames. These names often identified people by the kind of work they did. Nail is a name for a carpenter, builder or a person who made or sold nails. The name Nail is derived from the Old German word "nagal," which means "nail." There are also numerous places named Nagel in Germany.

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One can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames: in early times, spelling in general, and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized; and later, spellings would change with branching and movement of families. Variations of the name Nail include Nagel, Nagle, Naegel, Nageli, Naegeli, Nagell, Nagler, Nagele, Naegele, Naegelen, Negel, Negele, Nail, Neil and many more.

First found in Westphalia, where this family made important contributions toward the development of this district from ancient times. Always prominent in social and political affairs, the family formed alliances with other families within the Feudal System and the nation.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nail research. Another 277 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1224, 1451, 1562, 1649, 1769, 1773, 1836, and 1851 are included under the topic Early Nail History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 39 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nail Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Hundreds of thousands of Europeans, including many Rhinelanders, made the voyage to North America between the 17th and 20th centuries. It was an escape from religious persecution and poverty and also an opportunity for people to start over and own their own land. Most landed at Ellis Island, off New York before moving on to the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, and California. Some also landed in Canada and settled in Ontario, while others headed west to the prairie provinces. A study of passenger and immigration lists has shown a number of people bearing the name of Nail, or one of its variants, reaching North America shores very early:

Nail Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • James Nail, aged 19, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Thomas Nail, aged 35, landed in Connecticut in 1812
  • John Nail, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1840

Nail Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century


  • Jacques Nail, who landed in Montreal in 1653

Nail Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • George Nail, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749

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  • David Brent Nail (b. 1979), American country music artist
  • James Bradford "Jimmy" Nail (b. 1954), English singer-songwriter, actor, musician and film producer


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  1. Götze, Alfred. Familiennamen im badischen Oberland. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1918. Print.
  2. Fogleman, Aaron Spencer. Journeys German Immigration, Settlement and Political Culture in Colonial America 1717-1775. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986. Print. (ISBN 978-0812215489).
  3. Steed, Henry Wickham . The Hapsburg Monarchy. London: Constable and Company, 1919. Print.
  4. Bahlow, Hans. Abhandlungen zur Namenforschung und Buchgeschichte. 1980. Print. (ISBN 978-3768690522).
  5. Bahlow, Hans (Edda Gentry trns). Dictionary of German Names . Madison, Wisconsin: Max Kade Institute, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-924119-35-7).
  6. Bahlow, Hans and Edda Gentry. Translation Dictionary of German Names 2nd Edition. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 2002. Print.
  7. Kapff, Rudolf. Schwäbische Geschlechtsnamen. Stuttgart: Verlag Silberburg, 1927. Print.
  8. Preuss, Otto. Die Lippischen Familiennamen mit Berücksichtigung der Ortsnamen. Detmold: Meyer'sche Hofbuchh, 1887. Print.
  9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  10. Bahlow, Hans. Deutschlands geographische Namenwelt Etymologisches Lexikon der Fluss- und Ortsnamen alteuropaischer Herkunft. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1985. Print.
  11. ...

The Nail Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Nail 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 5 April 2015 at 22:59.

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