The Norman name Sorrels was originally used for a person who was a person with red hair, a ruddy complexion, or who dressed habitually in the color red. The name was originally derived from the Old Norse word sor, meaning chestnut, and referring to the reddishcolor of dry leaves.
The surname Sorrels was first found in Essex where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands at Waltham and Stebbings by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. Sorrell means "yellow."
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sorrels research. Another 66 words (5 lines of text) covering the year 1200 is included under the topic Early Sorrels History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Sorrell, Sorel, Sorell, Sorril, Sorrill, Sorwell and others.
Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Sorrels name or one of its variants:
Sorrels Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
C. J. Sorrels, who arrived in New York in 1903 aboard the ship "Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse" from Southampton, England
Alma Sorrels, aged 40, who arrived in New York in 1922 aboard the ship "Carmania" from Liverpool, England