Show ContentsTerrell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Terrell is of Anglo-Saxon origin. It was name for a stubborn or obstinate person. The surname Terrell is derived from the Old French word tirer, which means to draw. This is used in the same sense as the word tirand, which means "one who pulls on the reins;" thus it may be that it was used as a nickname for a stubborn person, before coming to be used as a hereditary surname.

Early Origins of the Terrell family

The surname Terrell was first found in Essex where one of the first records of the name is Walter Tirel III, (1065-c. 1100), Castellan of Pontoise and Lord of Poix, son of Walter Tirell II. [1]

He is remembered for his involvement in the death of King William II (William Rufus) on a hunting trip in the New Forest on August 2nd, 1100. Some say it was an accident when Walter shot an arrow at a stag which glanced from the beast and struck King William II, while others disagree. [2]

However, accordingly to chroniclers of the time, they parted at the beginning of the hunt on good terms, but the king was later found with one of the arrows given to Walter by the king in his chest. There is a stone in the Forest at Stoney Cross marking the spot where the King fell. [3]

Walter's grandson Hugh Tyrrel (died 1199) took part in the Norman Conquest of Ireland where he became the first Baron of Castleknock and later took part in the Third Crusade.

Another distinct branch of the family was found at Gipping in Suffolk. "This place, which takes its name from the small river Gipping, is the property of C. Tyrell, Esq., whose ancestor, Sir Walter Tyrell, Knt., held the lordship at the time of the Domesday survey." [4]

Early History of the Terrell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Terrell research. Another 140 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1423, 1412, 1450, 1502, 1502, 1597, 1676, 1661, 1676, 1617, 1701, 1643, 1718, 1642, 1718, 1623, 1676 and 1370 are included under the topic Early Terrell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Terrell Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Terrell have been found, including Tyrell, Terrell, Terrill, Tyrill, Turrell, Tirell, Tyrrell and many more.

Early Notables of the Terrell family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir James Tyrrell (c.1450-1502), an English knight, a trusted servant of King Richard III of England; he confessed to the murders of King Edward V of England and his brother Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York and was beheaded at Tower Hill in 1502; Sir Peter Tyrell; Sir John Tyrell (1597-1676), an...
Another 61 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Terrell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Terrell Ranking

In the United States, the name Terrell is the 788th most popular surname with an estimated 37,305 people with that name. [5]

Ireland Migration of the Terrell family to Ireland

Some of the Terrell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 78 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Terrell migration to the United States +

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become powerful new nations. Among early immigrants of the Terrell surname to cross the Atlantic and come to North America were:

Terrell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Tho Terrell, who arrived in Virginia in 1637 [6]
  • Katherine Terrell, who arrived in Virginia in 1649 [6]
  • Richmond Terrell, who landed in Virginia in 1656 [6]
  • Robert Terrell, who landed in Virginia in 1656 [6]
  • Edward Terrell, who landed in Virginia in 1658 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Terrell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Alice Terrell, who arrived in Virginia in 1705 [6]
  • Mary Terrell, who landed in New England in 1717 [6]
Terrell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Terrell, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1846 [6]
  • William Terrell, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1864

Australia Terrell migration to Australia +

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

Terrell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Terrell, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Waterloo" in 1840 [7]
  • Sarah Terrell, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Waterloo" in 1840 [7]
  • William Terrell, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on April 16, 1855, settling in Western Australia [8]
  • Samuel Terrell, aged 34, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Henry Moore"
  • Mr. Nicholas Terrell, (b. 1837), aged 21, Cornish labourer departing from Plymouth aboard the ship "Ascendant" arriving in Moreton Bay, New South Wales, Australia on 19th June 1858 [9]

West Indies Terrell 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. [10]
Terrell Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Alice Terrell, who settled in Barbados in 1664

Contemporary Notables of the name Terrell (post 1700) +

  • James C. Terrell (1806-1835), United States Representative and lawyer from Georgia
  • Marvin Terrell Jr. (1938-2018), American college and AFL professional football guard
  • Taylor Terrell (1991-2016), American news anchor for 41NBC News at Daybreak; she died after slipping over Rainbow Falls in North Carolina
  • Ernie Terrell (1939-2014), American singer, record producer, and World Boxing Association (WBA) heavyweight boxing champion
  • Tom Terrell (1950-2007), American music journalist
  • James "Jim" Terrell (1965-1988), American sprint canoer at the 1988 Summer Olympics
  • Ken Terrell (1904-1966), American western and action film actor and stuntman
  • Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954), American daughter of former slaves, one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree
  • Velma Jean Terrell (b. 1944), American R&B and jazz singer
  • Tammi Terrell (1945-1970), stage name of Thomasina Winifred Montgomery, American recording artist and songwriter, best known for her work with Marvin Gaye
  • ... (Another 50 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Bertram Terrell (d. 1912), aged 20, English Able Seaman from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [11]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. John Raymond Terrell, American Fireman Second Class from Arkansas, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [12]

  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. Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  3. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. 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)
  7. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) WATERLOO 1840. Retrieved from
  8. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 17) Adelaide voyage to Western Australia, Australia in 1855 with 261 passengers. Retrieved from
  9. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from
  11. Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from
  12. Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from on Facebook