Zell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestral home of the Zell family is Bavaria. Zell is a local name for a person who lived in the place named Zell. This place-name can be found in several areas in Germany, but the most well known town of this name is in the region of Freiburg, which is in the Schwarzwald, or the Black Forest, just north of the Swiss border. The place-name has appeared in several countries where the Germanic people had influence.

Early Origins of the Zell family

The surname Zell was first found in Bavaria, where the name could be considered to make a great early contribution to the feudal society which became the backbone of early development of Europe. The name became prominent in local affairs and branched into many houses which played important roles in the savage tribal and national conflicts, each group seeking supremacy in constantly changing power relations. Chronicles first mention Ulrich Zeller of Esslingen in 1282 and Dietrich Czelleman of Muehlhausen in Saxony in 1393. The name originates in the Latin word "cella," which was taken into mediaeval German in the word "Klosterzelle."

Early History of the Zell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Zell research. Another 118 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1630, 1477, 1548, 1497, 1562, 1503, 1462, 1560, 1683 and 1763 are included under the topic Early Zell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Zell Spelling Variations

Many cultural groups lived in the German states in medieval times. Each had its own dialect and traditions, and unique variations of popular names. Low German, which is similar to contemporary Dutch, was spoken in Westphalia. German names are characterized by additions such as regional suffixes and phrases that tell something about the origin or background of its original bearer. Further contributing to the variation in German names was the fact that there were no spelling rules in medieval times: scribes recorded names according to their sound. The recorded spelling variations of Zell include Zeller, Zellers, Zell, Zelle, Zella, Zellmer, Zelleman, Zellaman, Zellemann, Zellner, Zelmer, Zelman, Zelkmann, Zellman, Zelner, Zellerman and many more.

Early Notables of the Zell family (pre 1700)

Prominent among members of the name Zell in this period include Matthäus (Matias) Zell (1477-1548), a Lutheran theologian and reformer based in Strasbourg; and his wife Katharina Zell, née Schütz (1497-1562), a German Protestant writer during the Reformation; Ulrich Zell...
Another 40 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Zell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Zell migration to the United States +

Between the mid-17th and mid-20th centuries, German settlers arrived in North America by the thousands. Persecution based on religion and poverty were great motivators in this large-scale migration. So too was the opportunity for tenant farmers to own their own land. Ample land and opportunity awaited the settlers who went to such states as Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California, as well as Ontario and the prairie provinces of Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Zell or a variant listed above:

Zell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Lambert Zell, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [1]
  • Peter Zell, who settled in Philadelphia County in 1734
  • Johann Nikolaus Zell, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1740 [1]
  • John Zell, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1765 [1]
  • George Zell, who landed in New York, NY in 1782 [1]
Zell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Heinrich Zell, aged 29, who arrived in New York, NY in 1849 [1]
  • Christian Zell, aged 8, who arrived in New York, NY in 1852 [1]
  • Eva Zell, aged 9, who arrived in New York, NY in 1852 [1]
  • Falentine Zell, aged 4, who landed in New York, NY in 1852 [1]
  • Georg Zell, aged 2, who arrived in New York, NY in 1852 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Zell (post 1700) +

  • Kit Zell (b. 1954), retired American soccer forward who played in 1976 for the Portland Timbers
  • Johnny Zell (b. 1947), American musician, best known as a trumpeter from The Lawrence Welk Show
  • Harry von Zell (1906-1981), American radio announcer and an actor in films and television shows
  • Samuel "Sam" Zell (b. 1941), American businessman, Chairman of Equity Group Investments (EGI)
  • Franz Anton Zell (1866-1961), German architect and folklorist
  • Karl Zell (1793-1873), German statesman, philologist, and defender of the rights of the Catholic Church
  • Zell Bryan Miller (1932-2018), American author and politician, United States Senator from Georgia (2000-2005), 79th Governor of Georgia (1991-1999), 8th Lieutenant Governor of Georgia (1975-1991)

  1. ^ 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)

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