Surname Howel - Meaning and Origin
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Howel: What does the surname Howel mean?
The last name Howel is of Anglo-Saxon origin. The surname is derived from the pre-7th-century Old English personal name "Hugol," meaning "heart or spirit," related to the Old High German "Hugi" which has a similar meaning. Over time, the name "Hugol" evolved into "Howell," taking on various spellings.
The surname is mainly found in Wales and England, brought over from Britain's Anglo-Saxon settlers. It became a popular first name in the Middle Ages, especially in Wales, mainly due to Owain ap Hywel, a Welsh prince who was respected for his fair rule.
Therefore, the surname Howel essentially came from a given name rooted in qualities of strength, spirit, or heart. Like many surnames of the time, it was originally a first name that eventually transformed into a family name. Today, it is a common surname around the world due to the global dispersal of the British population.
Howel: Where does the name Howel come from?
The last name Howel is of English and Welsh origin and traditionally, it was an old personal name. It derives from the Old English first name "Huwel", which was originally a name of a Welsh prince who adopted Christianity in the 7th Century. The name became popular because of Howell Dda (the Good), a 10th-century prince renowned for his fairness. It is a patronymic name, meaning it is based on the father’s name.
In 1086, this surname was recorded in the Domesday Book, the record of the great survey of England by William the Conqueror, indicating its longevity and historic roots in the British Isles.
Today, the last name Howel (and its variations such as Howell) is most commonly found in the United States, England, and Wales. Its strongest concentration is in North America, particularly in the southeastern region of the United States, owing to the historic immigration patterns from the United Kingdom. As with most surnames, the distribution has spread globally over time, but its roots remain heavily in regions of Welsh and English heritage.
Variations of the surname Howel
The surname Howel has a rich history spanning different regions and cultures. Its variations and spellings are many, due to cultural and regional differences.
Among the most common variants and spellings of Howel are Howell, Howells, Hovell, Hoville, Hovil, Hovel, Hovell, Houell, Houelle, Hovelle, and Hoswell.
In Wales, the surname has been used interchangeably with Powell, Ap Howell, Ab Howell, and Pugh. Meanwhile, the Irish version of the name is often found as Hoole, Hole, or Hooley.
Howel is of Welsh origin, from the Welsh personal name Hywel meaning ‘eminent’. After the Norman Conquest, this Welsh personal name was increasingly adopted as a surname, and it has sometimes been changed to Howell due to English influences.
Surnames of the same origin include Howells and Powell, both of which are derived from the son of Howell (Howell’s son) and the son of Hywel (or Ap Hywel), respectively. Both these surnames signify a filial relationship with the progenitor, Howell.
In summary, this name's variants and its related surnames are due to linguistic, cultural, regional, and personal complexities that add depth to its etymology.
Famous people with the name Howel
- Catherine Joy Perry (Cathy Howel): American wrestler, actress and television host
- Rob Howel: Welsh professional footballer
- Goddess Howel: American actress
- Loxley Howel: English actor
- Daryl Howel: American actor
- Howel Lewis: American film historian
- Marvin Howel: Emmy Award-winning cinematographer
- James Southall Howel: American architect
- Warren C. Howel: American electrical engineer
- Robert Alexander Howel: American Presbyterian minister