Zeele History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The illustrious surname Zeele finds its origin in the rocky, sea swept coastal area of southwestern England known as Cornwall. Although surnames were fairly widespread in medieval England, people were originally known only by a single name. The process by which hereditary surnames were adopted is extremely interesting. As populations grew, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Under the Feudal System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Lords and their tenants often became known by the name of the feudal territory they owned or lived on. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. This was due to the heavy political and cultural influence of the English upon the Cornish People at the time that surnames first came into use. Local surnames were derived from where a person lived, held land, or was born. While many Cornish surnames of this sort appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames derived from lost or unrecorded place names. The name Zeele is a local type of surname and the Zeele family lived in the parish of Seal which had various locations in England including the counties of Northumberland, Leicester, Surrey and Kent.
However, the name could have originated from a variety of sources. It could be one who worked at the hall from the Old English word "sele,"  or, perhaps, "dweller by the sallow copse" from the Old English "siele," or "sele." 
Early Origins of the Zeele family
The surname Zeele was first found in Devon where Ralph de la Sele was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1168. Roger Sele was also listed in the Pipe Rolls for Norfolk in 1198. 
"The Seals of the Derby district may hail originally from Seal, a Leicestershire parish close to the Derbyshire border." 
Today Zeele could also be a Bengali Hindu Brahmin family name which literally means "the quality of being devoted."
Early History of the Zeele family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Zeele research. Another 67 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Zeele History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Zeele Spelling Variations
Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Seal, Seale, Seel, Sealey, Sealy, Seally, Sealley and others.
Early Notables of the Zeele family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Zeele Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Zeele family to Ireland
Some of the Zeele 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.
Migration of the Zeele family
An investigation of the immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Zeele: William Seal settled in Boston in 1763; Henry Seale settled in Virginia in 1637; William Seal settled in Maryland in 1740; Charles, Joseph and Piper Seel all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1870..
Related Stories +
- ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.