Seel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Seel 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 Seel 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 Seel 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 Seel family

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

Early History of the Seel family

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

Seel 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 Seel family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Seel family to Ireland

Some of the Seel 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 Seel migration to the United States +

In the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Seel

Seel Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Koenraet Seel, who arrived in New York in 1709 [4]
  • Frantz Seel, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1738 [4]
  • Anna Maria Seel, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1751 [4]
  • Dorothea Seel, who landed in America in 1752 [4]
  • Johan Paulus Seel, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1752 [4]
Seel Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Peper Seel, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1803 [4]
  • Charles, Joseph and Piper Seel all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1870
  • William Seel, aged 34, who landed in Missouri in 1841 [4]
  • Wilh Seel, who arrived in America in 1852 [4]
  • Mrs. Heinr Seel, who arrived in America in 1856 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Seel Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Fred. Seel, aged 23, who settled in America from Leeds, England, in 1907
  • Elizath. Ann Seel, aged 49, who settled in America from Manchester, England, in 1909
  • Franz Seel, aged 32, who immigrated to the United States from Hamburg, Germany, in 1909
  • Emily Seel, aged 16, who landed in America from Manchester, England, in 1910
  • Harry Seel, aged 20, who immigrated to America from Manchester, England, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Seel 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:

Seel Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • David Seel, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Andrew Jackson" in 1865

Contemporary Notables of the name Seel (post 1700) +

  • Steve Seel (b. 1966), American disc jockey, born in San Francisco
  • Annie Seel (b. 1968), Swedish born woman motorcyclist who set a world altitude record for climbing to Mount Everest base camp on a motorcycle
  • Wolfgang Seel (b. 1948), retired German football player
  • Adolf Seel (1829-1907), German painter


  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. ^ 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)


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