Show ContentsSearls History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Searls is a name that was carried to England in the great wave of migration from Normandy following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Searls 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 Searls family

The surname Searls 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 Searls family

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

Searls Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Searls were recorded, including Searle, Searles, Searl, Sarl, Sarrell, Serrell and others.

Early Notables of the Searls family

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 Searls Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Searls family to Ireland

Some of the Searls 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 Searls migration to the United States +

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Searls arrived in North America very early:

Searls Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Samuel Searls, who landed in New England in 1747 [5]
Searls Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Miss Searls, aged 23, who settled in America, in 1894
  • J Searls, aged 35, who landed in America, in 1897
Searls Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Henry Searls, aged 37, who immigrated to the United States, in 1908
  • Chas. Searls, aged 65, who landed in America, in 1911
  • Sidney A Searls, aged 46, who landed in America, in 1913
  • Sidney A. Searls, aged 48, who immigrated to the United States, in 1914
  • William P. Searls, aged 62, who settled in America, in 1914
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Searls migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Searls Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • William Redhead Searls, aged 31, who settled in Nelson B. C., in 1908

Australia Searls migration to Australia +

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

Searls Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Searls, (Sales), (b. 1802), aged 40, English farm labourer who was convicted in Chelmsford, Essex, England for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Eden" on 12th March 1842, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island) [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Searls (post 1700) +

  • Niles Searls (1825-1907), American attorney, politician, and the Chief Justice of California
  • Henry Hunt "Hank" Searls (b. 1922), American author and screenwriter
  • David "Doc" Searls (b. 1947), American journalist, columnist, and author, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto
  • Dane Searls (1988-2011), Australian BMX rider

  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. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th December 2021). Retrieved from on Facebook