Searl History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Searl was brought to England in the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Searl family lived in Cornwall. Their name, however, is a reference to Serlo, Normandy, the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. However, may of the family remained in Normandy as seen by Robert Sorel who was listed there (1180-1195.) [1]

Early Origins of the Searl family

The surname Searl was first found in Cornwall where the name can be found from ancient times as both a surname and a forename. Sarlo Iuuenis was one of the first on record in 1091-1093. [2]

"Thankes or Thancks, a delightful residence in the [parish of Antony in East, Cornwall] is situated near Torpoint, on the margin of the Hamoaze. This place originally took its name from a family called Thomke, who resided on it, and to whom it was enfranchised in the reign of Henry V. From the Thonke family it passed to the Searles, and from the Searles it was conveyed to the Warne family." [3]

In the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, the name continues to be found in both ways: Sarle Tinctor in Huntingdonshire and Matilda Sarle in Cambridgeshire. [4]

There is a history of an association with clergy as shown by Robert Saryll, clericus in 1412 in Yorkshire, and few years later in the same area Thomas Serle, capallanus, filius Roberti Sarle, clerici in 1438. [2]

One would presume that these latter two listings were father and son who both followed the same profession.

Early History of the Searl family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Searl research. Another 76 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1620, 1683, 1656, 1659, 1777, 1849, 1777, 1789, 1796, 1797, 1798, 1799, 1799, 1800 and 1802 are included under the topic Early Searl History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Searl Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval 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. The name has been spelled Searle, Searles, Searl, Sarl, Sarrell, Serrell and others.

Early Notables of the Searl family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Anthony Searle of Thanks at the time of King Richard III; and Samuel Serle (1620-1683), an English politician, Member of Parliament for Honiton (1656-1659.) Thomas Searle (1777-1849), was a British rear-admiral, "son of James Searle of Staddlescombe, Devonshire, was born on 29 May 1777. He entered the navy in November 1789, served on the Mediterranean, home, and Newfoundland stations, and in 1796 was in the Royal George, flagship of Lord Bridport, by whose interest he was made lieutenant, on 19 Aug., to...
Another 89 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Searl Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Searl family to Ireland

Some of the Searl 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 Searl migration to the United States +

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Searl or a variant listed above:

Searl Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Sarah Searl, aged 20, who landed in Maryland in 1684 [5]
Searl Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Miss Ann Searl, (b. 1799), aged 33, Cornish settler departing from Plymouth aboard the ship "Andromeda" arriving in the United States on 10th May 1832 [6]
  • Eliza Searl, who landed in New York in 1833 [5]
  • Hugh Searl, who arrived in New York in 1833 [5]

New Zealand Searl 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:

Searl Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Searl, aged 37, a ploughman, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Salisbury" in 1876
  • Mary Searl, aged 26, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Salisbury" in 1876
  • William Searl, aged 6, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Salisbury" in 1876
  • Charles Searl, aged 4, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Salisbury" in 1876
  • Harry Searl, aged 2, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Salisbury" in 1876
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Searl migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [7]
Searl Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • John Searl, who settled in Barbados in 1680 with his servants

Contemporary Notables of the name Searl (post 1700) +

  • Jackie Searl (1921-1991), American child actor, known for her roles in Tom Sawyer (1930) with Jackie Coogan and Mitzi Green, and HuckleBerry Finn in 1931
  • Doug Searl (b. 1947), former Australian rules footballer


  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  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. ^ 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. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to New York 1820 - 1891 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_new_york_1820_1891.pdf
  7. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies


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