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Surname Cromwell - Meaning and Origin

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How my iGENEA DNA Test Enlightened my View on the 'Cromwell' Surname and Personal Identity

For me, the iGENEA DNA test wasn't just about understanding my genetic material, but rather an opportunity to delve into the deep trenches of my ancestry. Particularly, it allowed me to appreciate the inherent depth in my Cromwell surname and its implication in shaping my identity.

T. Cromwell

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Cromwell: What does the surname Cromwell mean?

The last name Cromwell is of English origin and is derived from a place name in Cambridgeshire. The surname is derived from the Old English 'crom' meaning 'bent' or 'curved', and 'well' meaning 'spring'. The name could have been used to refer to someone who lived by a curved spring.

Cromwell is most famously associated with Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), a prominent military and political leader in the English Civil War who later served as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland. His given name may have also been adopted as a surname by some of his followers.

Throughout the Middle Ages and early modern period, the Cromwell surname was common in England and was associated with several prominent individuals, including Thomas Cromwell (1485-1540) and Henry Cromwell (1628-1674), both significant figures in English politics during the Tudor and Commonwealth periods.

In modern times, the surname Cromwell is still common in England, with the highest concentrations of people with the surname living in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire in the east of England. It is also common in Ireland and Australia, likely due to the influence of the Anglo-Irish and English colonial periods in these regions. The name may also be found in the United States, particularly among those of English and Irish descent.

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Cromwell: Where does the name Cromwell come from?

The last name Cromwell is most commonly seen today in the United Kingdom and other parts of the British Isles, including parts of Northern Ireland. It is also found as far afield as North America and Australia, suggesting that the family once had immigrants who relocated around the world.

The spelling variations of the name have included "Cromwell," "Crumwell," and "Crumbwell." The variants are all derived from the Old English name "croom," which means "bent spring," and "well," an Old English word meaning "fountain."

The origin of the Cromwell name dates back to the year 1272 and Ipswich, Suffolk. This is when John de Cromwell, a knight, first appeared in the records. Some scholars believe that this could be the family's founder.

The name's fame is largely linked to the Oliver Cromwell who assumed the role of Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1653. His achievements in the civil war transformed English politics, leading to the abolishment of the House of Lords and the creation of a Parliament based on religious tolerance — a key motivation behind the infamous Cromwellian Revolution.

Today, the Cromwell name is particularly associated with the town of Cromwell, New Zealand. The town was founded by disgraced British soldier and ex-convict, John Caffyn, who named it after his former commander, General Thomas Cromwell of Viewforth.

Variations of the surname Cromwell

The surname Cromwell is likely derived from the Old English word crom, meaning “crooked” or “bent” and wiell, meaning “spring.” This surname has been found with various spellings and variations throughout the centuries, including Cromwell, Crumwell, Cromwelle, Cromwel, Croomwell, Crumwel, and many more.

The variants of the surname Cromwell are usually divided into five major groupings. The surname Cromwell often appears with alternate spellings which occasionally indicate ancestry from different geographical areas. The variations of Cromwell include:

1. Cormwell-- This form can be found in Ireland, Scotland, and the US. It is most likely derived from the Irish form Croomwell.

2. Cruimwell-- This form is found mostly in England. It may be a variation of Cromwell or a different form entirely.

3. Cromwell-- This is the most common spelling of the surname Cromwell.

4. Cromwel, Cromwells, Crumwells, and Crumwel-- These are variations of the more common Cromwell spellings.

5. Crumbwell-- This is an Americanized version of the surname Cromwell.

The variations of the surname Cromwell may also indicate a family origin from two different sources. Celtic variants of the name Cromwell may be found in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, while Germanic variants of the name are found in England.

The most common surname variants of Cromwell are often used interchangeably. However, to trace the origin of the family, the study of different surname spellings is necessary. Furthermore, as surnames developed independently in different regions, it is important to consider all spellings and variants of the surname.

Famous people with the name Cromwell

  • Oliver Cromwell: English military and political leader who served as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1653–1658).
  • William Cromwell: American venture capitalist, founder of Cromwell Capital Management and Cromwell & Company.
  • Thomas Cromwell: 1st Earl of Essex, Tudor statesman who served as chief advisor to King Henry VIII of England (1532–1540)
  • Henry Cromwell: military leader and 3rd Earl of Ardglass in Ireland during the English Civil War and Interregnum era.
  • Blanche Cromwell: British theatre and television actress.
  • Stanley Cromwell: American actor, singer, and director.
  • John Adams Cromwell: American lawyer, civil-rights activist, and academic who chaired the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.
  • Edward Montague Cromwell: Royal Navy officer, first Sea Lord of the Admiralty, and Governor of Jamaica (1893–1897).
  • Jason Cromwell: American actor and director.
  • Charlotte Cromwell: English actress and singer.
  • Ray Cromwell: American jazz composer, arranger, and road manager.
  • Edwin S. Cromwell: American lawyer, author, and diplomat who served in several U.S. diplomatic posts.
  • Mary Cromwell: American author of books for children and young adults.
  • Rosalind Cromwell: British interior designer and fabric designer.
  • Charles Cromwell: American Army Colonel, 74th Depot Brigade, 3rd Division, during World War I.
  • Edith Cromwell: English nurse and midwife who served during World War II.
  • Florence Cromwell: American actor and comedian.
  • Elizabeth Cromwell: English authoress and philanthropist.
  • Alfred Cromwell: British explorer who made the first ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro.
  • William Cromwell Jr.: American TV and film producer.

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