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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The Seal history begins in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. Quite distinct from Devon, the adjoining county, Cornwall had its own spoken language until the late 18th century. The Seal history began here. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames were derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. The Seal family originally lived in the parish of Seal which had various locations in England including the counties of Northumberland, Leicester, Surrey and Kent.

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The surname Seal was first found in Northumberland where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Seal, Seale, Seel, Sealey, Sealy, Seally, Sealley and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Seal research. Another 241 words (17 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Seal History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Seal Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Seal family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 107 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Seal or a variant listed above:

Seal Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Emanuel Seal, who landed in Maryland in 1676

Seal Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • William Seal settled in Maryland in 1740
  • Anna Maria Seal, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746
  • John Paul Seal, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1751
  • William Seal settled in Boston in 1763

Seal Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Catharine Seal, who landed in Texas in 1840-1850
  • C H Seal, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Thomas Seal, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • H W Seal, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Derdinand Seal, aged 28, arrived in New York, NY in 1854

Seal Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Charles Seal arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Caspar" in 1849
  • William Seal arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Caspar" in 1849
  • Mary Seal, aged 17, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Bucephalus"
  • William Seal (aged 22), a carpenter, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Eliza"

Seal Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • James Seal, aged 38, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Avalanche" in 1875
  • Frances Seal, aged 30, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Avalanche" in 1875
  • John Seal, aged 9, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Avalanche" in 1875
  • B. Ann Seal, aged 1, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Avalanche" in 1875

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  • Paul Seal (b. 1952), former American football tight end in the National Football League
  • Jimmy Seal (b. 1950), English footballer
  • Mutty Lall Seal (1792-1854), Bengali Indian businessman and philanthropist
  • Mike Seal (b. 1970), the Assistant Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
  • Jaynie Seal (b. 1973), Australian television presenter
  • Elizabeth Seal (b. 1933), Italian actress
  • David Seal (b. 1972), Australian soccer player


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  • A Seale Anthology by Nancy L. Kuehl.
  • The Seale Family from Northern Neck of Virginia to Greene County, Alabama by Joyce Ellison Graf.
  • The Seal (also Seal) Family of Old Virginia by Deborah A. Sprouse.
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  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  3. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  4. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  5. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  6. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  7. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  8. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  9. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  10. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  11. ...

The Seal Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Seal 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 15 March 2016 at 17:51.

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