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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Tornell family come from? What is the English Tornell family crest and coat of arms? When did the Tornell family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Tornell family history?

The name Tornell is part of the ancient legacy of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is a product of when the family lived in the parish of Thornhill in the county of Yorkshire. The surname Tornell 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.

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The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Tornell has been spelled many different ways, including Thornhill, Thornhull, Thornall, Thornehill, Thornell and many more.

First found in Yorkshire where they trace their descent from Gernever, a noble Saxon who possessed large tracts of land before the Conquest in 1066.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tornell research. Another 123 words(9 lines of text) covering the years 1330, 1675 and 1734 are included under the topic Early Tornell History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 31 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tornell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Tornell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 45 words(3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Tornells to arrive in North America: Nancy Thornhill settled in Fortune, Newfoundland, in 1817; William Thornall settled in Brunett Island Newfoundland in 1829; Ben Thornhill settled in New England in 1771.

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  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  2. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  3. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  6. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  7. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  8. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  9. 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).
  10. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  11. ...

The Tornell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Tornell Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 16 January 2014 at 13:55.

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