Thornell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the name Thornell date back to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from their residence in the parish of Thornhill in the county of Yorkshire. The surname Thornell is a habitation name that was originally derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. The surname originated as a means of identifying individuals from a particular area. In the Middle Ages people often assumed the name of the place that they originally lived as their surname during the course of travel. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came.

Early Origins of the Thornell family

The surname Thornell was first found in Yorkshire at Thornhill where they trace their descent from "Gerneber, a noble Saxon who possessed large tracts of land before the Conquest in 1066. " [1] John de Tornhull was recorded there in the Pipe Rolls of 1212. [2]

Sir Jordan de Thornhill (c.1123-1194) is generally thought to be the progenitor of the family. He was the son of Essulf FitzUlf (1094-1159) and Maud Fitz Ulf (1096-1200) and was born at Thornhill Hall, Thornhill, Yorkshire assuming the name of his birthplace. He is thought to have had three children by two wives: John de Thornhill; Eve de Lalander and William de Thornhill. His younger siblings were: Peter Fitz-Assulf; Richard Fitz-Essulf; Elias de Thornhill; Thomas de Thornhill; John de Thornhill, Jr. and 2 others.

"This place was the seat of the Thornhill family, for many generations proprietors of the manor. " [3] Fixby in the West Riding of Yorkshire was another ancient family seat.

"This place, called in Domesday Book Feslei, was at an early period the property of a family to whom it gave name; it afterwards passed to the Toothills, and from them, by marriage, to the ancient family of Thornhill, of whom mention occurs in 1577 as holding lands of Queen Elizabeth in Fekisby, as of her demesne of Wakefield." [3]

"In the 15th of Edward II., John de Thornhill held the manor [of Foulridge, Lancashire]; and by marriage with his daughter, Sir Henry Saville became possessed of the property in 1404." [3]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included: Willelraus Thornyll; and Leticia de Thornhyll as holding lands there at that time. [4]

Early Somerset records show Walter de Thornhulle, 1 Edward III (during the first year of King Edward III's reign.) [5]

Early History of the Thornell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Thornell research. Another 62 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1330, 1675, 1734, 1500, 1557 and 1529 are included under the topic Early Thornell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Thornell Spelling Variations

Thornell has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Many variations of the name Thornell have been found, including Thornhill, Thornhull, Thornall, Thornehill, Thornell and many more.

Early Notables of the Thornell family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Sir Brian Thornhill of Thornhill; and Sir James Thornhill (1675-1734), an English painter of historical subjects, born at Melcombe Regis, Dorset, son of Walter Thornhill of Wareham, the eighth son of George Thornhill (or Thornhull)...
Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Thornell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Thornell Ranking

In the United States, the name Thornell is the 16,705th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Thornell family to Ireland

Some of the Thornell 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 Thornell migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Thornells to arrive on North American shores:

Thornell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Thornell, who arrived in New York in 1811 [7]
  • Thomas Thornell, aged 43, who landed in New York in 1812 [7]
  • T. Thornell, aged 24, who immigrated to the United States, in 1892
  • Charles E. Thornell, aged 29, who landed in America, in 1895
  • Oscar Thornell, aged 32, who immigrated to the United States, in 1898
Thornell Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Maria Thornell, aged 63, who landed in America, in 1902
  • Mrs Henry L. Thornell, aged 50, who arrived at New York, in 1907
  • Marie C. Thornell, aged 30, who settled in America, in 1921
  • Sigurd Thornell, aged 29, who settled in America, in 1921
  • James Thornell, aged 46, who immigrated to the United States from Sydney, Australia, in 1923

Contemporary Notables of the name Thornell (post 1700) +

  • John F. Thornell, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Army Air Forces, during World War II, credited with 17¼ aerial victories
  • John Thornell (b. 1985), Australian bronze medalist long jumper
  • Max Thornell (b. 1970), Swedish musician
  • Jack Thornell (b. 1939), American photographer

  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  6. ^
  7. ^ 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) on Facebook