Show ContentsThistle History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Thistle family

The surname Thistle was first found in the Channel Islands where the name is generally believed to be derived from the French surname Touzel and in this case, it would have been a nickname for a "young man with hair cut short." [1] Alternatively, the name could have been for a "dweller near thistles or prickly plants." [2]

However, another source claims the name was a baptismal name as in "son of Thurkettle," and a variant of Thirkell or Turkle. "This corruption was an early one, for a township in the parish of Swine, East Riding of Yorkshire, bears the name Thirtleby, i.e. the dwelling of Thurkell, the first settler." [3]

The name may have been the root of the name Thistleton. In this case, the "surname is derived from a geographical locality. 'of Thistleton,' a parish in Rutland, eight miles from Oakham." [3] The earliest record of that family was found in the Feet of Fines of Lancashire in 1250 as Adam de Thistleton. [4] Just a few years later, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed Adam de Thistelton, in Lincolnshire at that time. [3]

The name Thistle is numerous in Newfoundland as according to family tradition "one of four Thistle brothers from Guernsey (Channel Islands) settled in Harbour Grace c. 1663." [1]

Early History of the Thistle family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Thistle research. Another 77 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 166 and 1663 are included under the topic Early Thistle History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Thistle Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Thistle, Thissell, Thisell, Thisle and others.

Early Notables of the Thistle family (pre 1700)

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

Thistle Ranking

In Newfoundland, Canada, the name Thistle is the 236th most popular surname with an estimated 187 people with that name. [5]

United States Thistle migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Thistle Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Jeffrey Thistle, who settled in Marblehead Massachusetts in 1635
Thistle Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Richard Thistle, who settled in America in 1715
Thistle Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Thistle, who settled in Philadelphia in 1862

Canada Thistle migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Thistle Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
  • Amy Thistle of Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, who claimed her ancestors settled there in 1663 [6]
Thistle Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Thistle, who was Constable of Carbonear about 1730

Contemporary Notables of the name Thistle (post 1700) +

  • Thomas L. Thistle, American politician, Mayor of Melrose, Massachusetts, 1953 [7]
  • Thomas Thistle (1813-1892), English wool draper and gentleman of Liverpool, father of Thomas Thistle, the Anglican priest
  • Thomas Thistle (1853-1936), English Anglican priest in England, New Zealand and Australia
  • Anna Thistle, Canadian politician who represented the electoral district of Grand Falls-Windsor-Buchans, Newfoundland (1996-2007)
  • Jim Thistle (1955-2016), Canadian lawyer and politician from St. John's, Newfoundland who was a key negotiator of the 1985 Atlantic Accord between the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Jesse Thistle, born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, he is a Métis-Cree PhD student in the History program at York University
  • Michael James Thistle (b. 1980), Australian cricketer who played several matches for Western Australia in 2003
  • Thistle Yolette Harris (1902-1990), also known as Thistle Stead, an Australian botanist, educator, author and conservationist from Sydney

SS Caribou
  • Mr. Edward Allan Thistle (b. 1914), British passenger who was Royal Air Force was travelling aboard the railway ferry "SS Caribou" when it was struck by a German submarine torpedo on 14th October 1942, the most significant sinking in Canadian waters at that time, he died in the sinking

  1. Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland Montreal: McGill's-Queen's University Press 1998. Print. (ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  2. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  6. Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 22) . Retrieved from on Facebook