Pistole History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Pistole is an early Norman name that was originally given to a person who used 'an instrument for pounding things in a mortar', 'pestle'. "Probably for a user of this instrument, a compounder of drugs, a spicer." [1]

The name is derived from the Middle English word pestel and the Old French word pestel.

In Normandy the first record of the family was found in the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae which listed N. Pestoil there 1180-95. [2]

Early Origins of the Pistole family

The surname Pistole was first found in Shropshire where Robert Pestel was listed in the Assize Rolls for 1221. A few years later, Nicholas Pestel was listed in the Assize Rolls for Lancashire in 1246. And later again, Symon Pystel was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1296. Kyn Pestell was listed in the Assize Rolls for Cambridgeshire in 1260. [1]

Not withstanding the aforementioned, the family rose to distinction in Leicestershire in early days where both Coat of Arms were recorded. Both are essentially the same with the latter record in 1648 of a William Pestell, a mate of Captain Jomes in a ship of war "descended from an ancient family in the county of Leicester." [3]

Early History of the Pistole family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pistole research. Another 106 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1115, 1279, 1455, 1487, 1584, 1659 and 1613 are included under the topic Early Pistole History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pistole Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Pestell, Pestel, Pistol, Pestol, Pestoll, Pistoll, Pestall, Pestal, Pester, Pestor, Pistor and many more.

Early Notables of the Pistole family (pre 1700)

Another 40 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pistole Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Pistole migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Pistole or a variant listed above:

Pistole Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Eliz Pistole, who landed in Virginia in 1636 [4]
  • Robert Pistole, who arrived in Virginia in 1636 [4]
Pistole Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Belisario Pistole, aged 22, originally from Montelamos, arrived in New York in 1906 aboard the ship "Massilia" from Naples, Italy [5]
  • Glover Pistole, aged 15, destined for Houston, Texas, arrived in New York in 1911 aboard the ship "Cincinnati" from Hamburg, Germany [6]
  • Mrs. W.H. Pistole, aged 25, arrived in New York in 1911 aboard the ship "Saint Paul" from Southampton, England [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Pistole (post 1700) +

  • John S. Pistole (b. 1956), American former administrator of the United States Transportation Security Administration (2010-2014) and a former deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (2004-2010)


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Burke, Sir Bernard, C.B. LL.D The General Armory of England Scotland, Ireland and Wales. London: Harrison, 59, Pall Mall, 1884, Print.
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JFFJ-PZS : 6 December 2014), Belisario Pistole, 17 Mar 1906; citing departure port Naples, arrival port New York, ship name Massilia, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  6. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JJGQ-DXS : 6 December 2014), Glover Pistole, 17 Sep 1911; citing departure port Hamburg, arrival port New York, ship name Cincinnati, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  7. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JJG2-SMF : 6 December 2014), Mrs. W.H. Pistole, 19 Oct 1911; citing departure port Southampton, arrival port New York, ship name Saint Paul, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).


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