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


The Atlantic Ocean to the north and west and the English Channel to the south borders Cornwall, the homeland to the Seals 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 Seals 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 Seals 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 Seals research. Another 241 words (17 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Seals History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Seals 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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The records on immigrants and ships' passengers show a number of people bearing the name Seals:

Seals Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Benjamin Seals, who arrived in Mississippi in 1853

Seals Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • George Seals, aged 28, who emigrated to the United States from Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1909
  • Herbert Seals, aged 24, who landed in America from Wallsend, England, in 1913
  • Della M. Seals, aged 30, who settled in America from Miltown Malbay, Ireland, in 1914
  • John Seals, aged 31, who emigrated to America, in 1920
  • Alfred Seals, aged 38, who landed in America, in 1921


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  • Brigadier-General Carl Herndon Seals (1882-1955), American Adjutant-General Philippine Department (1940-1942)
  • Bruce A. Seals (b. 1953), retired American basketball player
  • Troy Seals (b. 1938), American singer, songwriter, and guitarist
  • Frank "Son" Seals (1942-2004), American blues guitarist and singer
  • Jim Seals (b. 1941), American musician, part of the Seals and Crofts top selling band of the 70s
  • Brady Seals (b. 1969), American country music artist


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  • The Seals Family History by Elmer D. Scalf.
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  1. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  4. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  5. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  6. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  7. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  10. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  11. ...

The Seals Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Seals 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 9 September 2015 at 14:24.

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