Pursell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Although the Irish had their own system of hereditary surnames and the Strongbow settlers brought with them their own Anglo-Norman naming practices, the two traditions generally worked well together. The name Pursell is an occupational surname, a form of hereditary name that existed in both cultures long before the invaders arrived, but more common to the Anglo-Norman culture. Occupational surnames were derived from a word describing the actual job done by the original name bearer. Early Strongbownian names of this type often used the prefix le, meaning the, in French, but the use of this prefix did not last in the language of the vernacular. The surname Pursell came from a common occupational name for a swineherd. The surname Pursell is derived from the Norman-French word porcel, which in turn comes from the Latin word porcus, which means pig or piglet. Occupational names such as Pursell frequently were derived from the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames. The Gaelic form of the surname Pursell is Puirséil.

Early Origins of the Pursell family

The surname Pursell was first found in Surrey, England and later in County Tipperary. As many Norman families, they accompanied Strongbow in the Anglo- Norman invasion of Ireland in 1172. The English branch in Surrey continued their stronghold in Surrey for many years. As far as the Irish branch is concerned, it is generally believed that Sir Hugh Purcell, a Strongbow knight was the progenitor of the family in Ireland. His grandson, another Sir Hugh married Beatrix, daughter of Theobald FitzWalter, Chief Butler of Ireland about 1204 and received Loghmoe (Loughmore,) a village in North Tipperary as a wedding present. [1] A direct line of the family continued until 1722 with the death of Nicholas Purcell, 13th Baron of Loughmoe.

Early History of the Pursell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pursell research. Another 93 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1665, 1660, 1665, 1659, 1695, 1664, 1717, 1651 and 1691 are included under the topic Early Pursell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pursell Spelling Variations

Medieval scribes and church officials spelled the names as they sounded, so a name was often spelled many different ways during the lifetime of a single person. The investigation of the origin of the name Pursell revealed many spelling variations including Purcell, Purcel, Pursell, Purcill, Purcells, Percell, Porcell, Percill, Persell, Percel, Pirsell, Porcill, Porsell, Purcelle, Purcele, Persells, Pursells, Purcels, Porcells, Purchell, Purscel, Purtill and many more.

Early Notables of the Pursell family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family up to this time was John Purcell (died 1665), Welsh politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1660 to 1665; Henry Purcell (1659-1695), generally considered England's greatest composer of the Baroque era; his younger brother Daniel Purcell (1664-1717) was...
Another 44 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pursell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Pursell migration to the United States +

In the mid-19th century, Ireland experienced one of the worst periods in its entire history. During this decade in order to ease the pressure of the soil, which was actually depleted by the effects of the previous years' grain crops, landowners forced tenant farmers and peasants onto tiny plots of land that barely provided the basic sustenance a family required. Conditions were worsened, though, by the population of the country, which was growing fast to roughly eight million. So when the Great Potato Famine of the mid-1840s hit, starvation and diseases decimated the population. Thousands of Irish families left the country for British North America and the United States. The new immigrants were often accommodated either in the opening western frontiers or as cheap unskilled labor in the established centers. In early passenger and immigration lists there are many immigrants bearing the name Pursell:

Pursell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Pursell, who arrived in Maryland in 1641 [2]
  • Edmond Pursell, who landed in Maryland in 1679 [2]
Pursell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Pursell, who landed in Virginia in 1700 [2]
  • Eli z Pursell, who arrived in Virginia in 1703 [2]
  • William Pursell, aged 30, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1734 [2]
Pursell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Janie Pursell, aged 28, who landed in America from Scotland, in 1894
  • Lizzie Pursell, aged 22, who immigrated to the United States, in 1895
Pursell Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Benj M. Pursell, aged 55, who settled in America from Liverpool, England, in 1908
  • Charles W Pursell, aged 40, who immigrated to the United States, in 1908
  • Emily S. Pursell, aged 25, who landed in America, in 1908
  • Archibald B. Pursell, aged 45, who immigrated to the United States from Sidney, Australia, in 1911
  • Margarete Pursell, aged 35, who settled in America, in 1914
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Pursell migration to Australia +

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

Pursell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Richard Pursell, British Convict who was convicted in St Albans, Hertfordshire, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 5th November 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land)1836 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Pursell (post 1700) +

  • S. C. Pursell, American politician, Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from Bucks County, 1871-72
  • James Pursell, American politician, U.S. Collector of Internal Revenue for the 6th Ohio District, 1879
  • H. D. Pursell, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Ohio, 1908
  • Cassell Pursell, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1964
  • Carl Duane Pursell (1932-2009), American Republican politician, Member of Michigan State Senate 14th District, 1971-77; Defeated in primary, 1966; Resigned 1977; U.S. Representative from Michigan 2nd District, 1977-93; Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1988
  • Isaac Pursell (1853-1910), American architect, born in Trenton, New Jersey, most of his work can be found in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Carl Duane Pursell (1932-2009), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan's 2nd district (1977-1993)
  • Bill Pursell, American composer and former session pianist
  • Bob Pursell (b. 1919), Scottish footballer
  • Bob Pursell (1889-1974), Scottish footballer
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Pursell 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: Aut vincam aut periam
Motto Translation: Either conquer or perish.


  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 28th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1835


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