Sell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Sell is derived from the Middle High German word "sell," which meant "traveling companion." It was most likely originally nickname, which then became a hereditary surname.

Early Origins of the Sell family

The surname Sell was first found in Westphalia, where the name emerged in mediaeval times as one of the notable families of the region, later moving to Lithuania and East Prussia. From the 13th century the surname was identified with the military and civil service, which made this territory a landmark contributor to the development and eventual unification of the German nation.

Early History of the Sell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sell research. Another 155 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1599, 1663, 1797 and 1806 are included under the topic Early Sell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sell Spelling Variations

In the medieval era, many different cultural groups lived in the German states. There are thus many regional variations of German surnames from that era. Westphalians spoke Low German, which is similar to modern Dutch. Many German names carry suffixes that identify where they came from. Others have phrases attached that identify something about the original bearer. Other variations in German names resulted from the fact that medieval scribes worked without the aid of any spelling rules. The spelling variations of the name Sell include Sell, Selle, Sellen, Sellers, Seller, Sellmann, Sellman and many more.

Early Notables of the Sell family (pre 1700)

Notables of the period with the name Sell were Thomas Selle (1599-1663), a German baroque composer; and Baron Adolph von Sell (b.1797), who was Lord Chamberlain at the court of Mecklenburg, as well as...
Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sell Ranking

In the United States, the name Sell is the 3,567th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [1]


United States Sell migration to the United States +

For many Germans, emigration to North America was an inviting alternative to the trials of life in the old country. From the mid-17th into the present century, thousands of Germans migrated across the Atlantic. They capitalized on the chance to escape poverty and persecution, and to own their own land. After 1650, Germans settled throughout the states of Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California. Many also landed in Canada, settling in Ontario or father west on the rich land of the prairies. Among them:

Sell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward and Johann Sell, who sailed to Bermuda in 1635
  • Edward and Jo Sell, who settled in Bermuda in 1635
  • Edward Sell, aged 18, who arrived in Bermuda in 1635 [2]
  • Jo Sell, aged 15, who arrived in Bermuda in 1635 [2]
  • John Sell, who landed in Virginia in 1656 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Sell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Charles, Felix, Jacob, John, Nickolas, and Peter Sell, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1740 and 1880
  • Jacob Sell, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1740 [2]
  • Johann Nikolaus Sell, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1740 [2]
  • Nickolas Sell, aged 42, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1740 [2]
  • Peter Sell, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1740 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Sell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Jos Sell, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1802 [2]
  • Friedrich Christian Sell, aged 22, who landed in America in 1843 [2]
  • Johann Sell, aged 43, who landed in America in 1843 [2]
  • Carl Sell, who landed in New York, NY in 1850 [2]
  • W Sell, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Sell migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Sell Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Johann Sell, aged 43, who arrived in Quebec in 1868

Australia Sell migration to Australia +

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

Sell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Sell, (b. 1802), aged 28, English ploughman who was convicted in Essex, England for 7 years for poaching, transported aboard the "Clyde" on 20th August 1830, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1868 he may have returned to the UK [3]
  • Mr. Nehemiah Sell, English convict who was convicted in Suffolk, England for 15 years, transported aboard the "China" on 162nd January 1846, arriving in Norfolk Island, Australia [4]
  • Daniel Sell, aged 23, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Standard" [5]
  • John Sell, aged 33, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Nugget" [6]
  • David Sell, aged 31, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Pestonjee Bomanjee" [7]

New Zealand Sell 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:

Sell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Sarah Sell, aged 25, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1842
  • Mary Ann Sell, aged 5, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1842
  • Mr. Thomas Sell, (b. 1833), aged 26, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Mary Anne" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 4th August 1859 [8]

West Indies Sell 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. [9]
Sell Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. John Sell, (b. 1620), aged 15, British settler travelling aboard the ship "The Dorset" arriving in Barbados in September 1635 [10]

Contemporary Notables of the name Sell (post 1700) +

  • Mary Elizabeth Sell, American New York City Ballet dancer
  • Edward B. Sell (d. 2014), American martial arts instructor, and the highest ranking non-Korean practitioner of tae kwon do
  • Friedrich Leopold Sell (b. 1954), German professor of Economics at Bundeswehr University Munich
  • W Edard Sell (b. 1923), American professor and lawyer, Dean of Law at the University of Pittsburgh and later become a member of the legal staff of the U.S. Steel Company
  • John Sell Cotman (1782-1842), English landscape water colourist, son of a prosperous silk mercer and dealer in foreign lace at Norwich, whose place of business was in London Lane of that town [11]


Suggested Readings for the name Sell +

  • Tax Records, Selected Family Names (also Sell Family), Franklin County, Pennsylvania, 1796-1847 by Robert F. Cell.

  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th February 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/clyde
  4. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retrieved 5th February 2021, retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/china)
  5. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) STANDARD 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/standard1852.shtml.
  6. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 4th July 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Nugget 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/nugget1854.shtml.
  7. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 15th March 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Pestonjee Bomanjee 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/hyderabad1854.shtml.
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  10. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 29th September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  11. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 30 June 2020


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