Seales History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Seales 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 Seales 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 Seales 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 Seales family

The surname Seales 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 Seales could also be a Bengali Hindu Brahmin family name which literally means "the quality of being devoted."

Early History of the Seales family

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

Seales 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 Seales family (pre 1700)

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

Seales Ranking

In the United States, the name Seales is the 11,957th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Seales family to Ireland

Some of the Seales 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 Seales migration to the United States +

Early records show that people bearing the name Seales arrived in North America quite early:

Seales Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Seales, who arrived in Virginia in 1652 [5]

New Zealand Seales 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:

Seales Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Seales, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1858
  • Mark Seales, aged 30, a shepherd, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Siberia" in 1870
  • Mary Seales, aged 29, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Siberia" in 1870
  • George Seales, aged 8, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Siberia" in 1870
  • Bertha E. Seales, aged 1, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Siberia" in 1870
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Seales (post 1700) +

  • J. C. Seales, American politician, Democrat Candidate for Mayor of Westbrook, Maine, 1893
  • Marc Seales, American contemporary jazz pianist
  • Franklyn Seales (1952-1990), American film, television and stage actor, known for his roles in The Onion Field, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Southern Comfort
  • "Sugar" Ray Seales (b. 1952), American gold medalist boxer at the 1972 Summer Olympics
  • Lecretia Seales (1973-2015), New Zealand lawyer and voluntary euthanasia advocate


  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. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  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)


Houseofnames.com on Facebook