Ownsel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The name Ownsel came to England with the ancestors of the Ownsel family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. It comes from the Germanic personal name Ansell composed of the elements ans, which means god, and helm, which means protection or helmet. 
Early Origins of the Ownsel family
The surname Ownsel was first found in the English county of Kent where they were granted lands shortly after the Norman Conquest by King William the Conqueror in 1066 A.D. The family is believed to be descended from Pierre Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ansell being the abbreviation adopted by most branches of this noble Norman family who accompanied the Conqueror into England.
Saint Anselm of Aosta (c. 1033-1109), was a theologian, Abbot of Bec, and Archbishop of Canterbury. He was "born at or near Aosta about the year 1033, or two years before the death of Cnut, king of England, and two years before William the Conqueror became duke of Normandy. William the Conqueror received his death-wound in 1087. In the presence of Anselm we are told that he who to most men seemed harsh and terrible became so mild that bystanders looked on with amazement. " 
Early History of the Ownsel family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ownsel research. Another 91 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1660, 1929 and 1689 are included under the topic Early Ownsel History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Ownsel 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 Ansell, Ancell, Ancelle, Anselm, Anselme, Anstrell and many more.
Early Notables of the Ownsel family (pre 1700)
Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ownsel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Ownsel family
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 Ownsel name or one of its variants: Edward Ansell, who settled in Nevis in 1663; Elizabeth Ansell, aged 17, who settled in Virginia in 1685; Claude Anselme, who arrived at New Orleans in 1719.
Related Stories +
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print