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Surname Abell - Meaning and Origin

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Unveiling My Celtic Roots: A Personal Journey into Family History through iGENEA DNA Analysis

My journey with iGENEA for DNA analysis opened up the fascinating story behind my surname, Abell. The results connected my lineage back to the Celts, shedding light on the origins of my family name, and the historic migrations they may have been part of. This experience not only expanded my understanding of my family history but also ignited a deep interest in genealogy and human migration patterns.

K. Abell

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Abell: What does the surname Abell mean?

The surname Abell is of Anglo-Saxon origin, derived from the name "Abel", which has biblical roots. Abel was the second son of Adam and Eve in the Bible and the name is associated with the Hebrew "hebel" meaning "breath, or vigour". Thus, it is often interpreted as "son of breath" or "son of vanity". The name Abel was common during the Middle Ages, from which the surname derived.

The surname Abell is also found in some instances as a patronymic surname, i.e., it referred to "son of Abel". It appeared in various forms like Abelle, Abell, Abeel, and Abelson in different regions. In some cases, it may also be of French origin, as the surname is found among French Huguenot immigrants to England in the 16th and 17th centuries.

It's important to note that surname meanings can vary based on geographic origin and historical context. For individual families, the surname 'Abell' might have unique personal significance or family history.

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Abell: Where does the name Abell come from?

The surname Abell has roots in pre-7th century Old French and Anglo-Saxon English. It is derived from the Hebrew personal name "Hevel" or "Abel", meaning "breath" or "vigor", and was caneologically linked to the son of Adam and Eve in the Bible. The surname was applied as a nickname or metonymic occupational name for a keeper of a chapel or a derivation of "abel", which means "bee" in Middle English, referring to a beekeeper.

The name was first recorded as "Abael" in the Curia Regis Rolls of Worcestershire, England, in 1206. Other early recordings include William Abel in the 1230 Pipe Rolls of Warwickshire, and Ricardus Abell, in the 1379 Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire. The surname expanded across Europe through centuries with spelling versions like Abelo, Abele, Abelle, Hybel, Habel, and Ebel among Germans, and Abello, Abillon, Bella, and Belli among the Spanish and Italians.

Today, the surname Abell is most common in the United States, followed by England and Australia. It's also fairly common in Canada, although less so than in the other three countries.

Variations of the surname Abell

The surname Abell has various variants and spellings in different cultures and languages, which are influenced by phonetic translations, regional dialects, and cultural adaptations. Some common variants and spellings include Abel, Abele, Abeel, Able, Ables, Abeles, Aibel, Abelen, and Abeln.

Surnames of the same origin can include Abl, Abelo, Abeloos, Abelot, Abeloux, Ablee, Abol, and Aboll. Likely related surnames due to a common root (which is based on the Hebrew name Abel, meaning "breath" or "vanity") include the German surname Ebel, Dutch Ebels, and French surnames such as Habel or Hable.

This diverse range of names underscores the wide geographical spread of individuals sharing this common root surname, from England and Scotland to Northern Europe, particularly in regions with historical Jewish communities. Each variant gives a glimpse into the migratory patterns of these families through history, as they adapted their names to fit new cultures and languages.

Famous people with the name Abell

  • Arunah Shepherdson Abell: He was an American publisher and philanthropist who led the creation of the 'The Sun', a newspaper in Baltimore, in 1837.
  • Sam Abell: An accomplished American photographer known for his work on several National Geographic articles and books.
  • Kjeld Abell: A renowned Danish playwright and theatrical designer. His most famous work is probably 'Melodrama' which was published in 1945.
  • Keirin Abell: A well-known English jockey who competed in both flat racing and National Hunt racing.
  • Anna Ella Carroll Abell: She was an American politician, pamphleteer, and lobbyist who played a significant role in the American Civil War.
  • Alexander Gordon Abell: The English-born Australian architect who designed many significant buildings in South Australia.
  • Jessica Abell: An American golfer who competed in the LPGA Tour.
  • Charles Abell: He serves as the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness in the U.S. Department of Defense.
  • Joshua Abell: An eminent English lawyer and Master in Chancery during the 17th century.
  • Virginia Hamilton Adair: (née Abell) An American poet known for being one of the oldest first-book poets when 'Ants on the Melon' was published when she was 83.
  • Edward Abell: A journalist known for his coverage of international nonprofit organizations.

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