Show ContentsSeale History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Atlantic Ocean to the north and west and the English Channel to the south borders Cornwall, the homeland to the Seale family name. Even though the usage of surnames was common during the Middle Ages, all English people were known only by a single name in early times. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. The Seale family originally lived in the parish of Seal which had various locations in England including the counties of Northumberland, Leicester, Surrey and Kent.

However, the name could have originated from a variety of sources. It could be one who worked at the hall from the Old English word "sele," [1] or, perhaps, "dweller by the sallow copse" from the Old English "siele," or "sele." [2]

Early Origins of the Seale family

The surname Seale was first found in Devon where Ralph de la Sele was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1168. Roger Sele was also listed in the Pipe Rolls for Norfolk in 1198. [2]

"The Seals of the Derby district may hail originally from Seal, a Leicestershire parish close to the Derbyshire border." [3]

Today Seale could also be a Bengali Hindu Brahmin family name which literally means "the quality of being devoted."

Early History of the Seale family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Seale research. Another 67 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Seale History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Seale Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Seale family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Seale Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Seale Ranking

In the United States, the name Seale is the 4,766th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Seale family to Ireland

Some of the Seale family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Seale migration to the United States +

Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Seale or a variant listed above:

Seale Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Seale, who settled in Virginia in 1637
  • Edward Seale, who arrived in Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1637 [5]
  • Hen Seale, who arrived in Virginia in 1637 [5]
  • Mary Seale, who arrived in Virginia in 1652 [5]
  • William Seale, who landed in Virginia in 1656 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Seale Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Nich Seale, who landed in Virginia in 1701 [5]
  • Antho Seale, who landed in Virginia in 1704 [5]
  • William Seale, who arrived in Maryland in 1740 [5]

Australia Seale migration to Australia +

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

Seale Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Peter Seale, English convict who was convicted in Bristol, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Baring" in December 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]

New Zealand Seale migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Seale Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Henry Seale, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859 [7]
  • Mr. Henry Seale, British settler travelling from Liverpool aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 19th October 1859 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Seale (post 1700) +

  • Bobby Seale (b. 1937), American civil rights activist
  • John Seale (b. 1942), Australian cinematographer, winner of an Oscar for the 1996 film The English Patient
  • Douglas Seale (1913-1999), English voice actor, best known as the Sultan in the movie Aladdin
  • Patrick Seale, British journalist
  • Sir Alfred Seale Haslam (1844-1927), English engineer and politician, Mayor of Derby (1890 to 1891)

  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. 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)
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from
  7. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 5th November 2010). Retrieved from
  8. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from on Facebook