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Surname Tarbell - Meaning and Origin

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Tarbell: What does the surname Tarbell mean?

The surname Tarbell is of Anglo-Saxon origin, deriving from the Old English personal name "Turbald," which means "bold or courageous among the assembly" or "bold thrower." The name likely originated as a nickname for someone who exhibited these characteristics before evolving into a last name. The surname is found in various forms such as Turbald, Troubel, Troubell, and Tarbell. For many years, it remained concentrated in the United Kingdom before people bearing this surname began to immigrate to other nations like the United States. Notably, it is shared by several notable individuals, including the investigative journalist Ida Tarbell who was known for her pioneering work in investigative journalism.

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Tarbell: Where does the name Tarbell come from?

Today, the last name Tarbell is most commonly found in the United States. According to the US Census Bureau, it is the 4,245th most common last name in the United States. The highest concentrations of the name are found in California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Illinois. New York has a slightly lower concentration. Outside of the US, there are occurrences of the last name in the United Kingdom, Canada, India, and research has shown Australia.

In the US, there is no definitive origin of the name; however, it is believed to have emerged when the English and Scots-Irish began their immigration into the colonies. The origins of the name have also been attributed to the French origin of Tarbelles, derived from the Latin personal name Tarbellus and its probable long-established origins in the Tarniles region of France.

The number of Tarbells in the US has increased significantly since the late 19th century and the name can now be found in many parts of the country. Interestingly, there is a concentration of the name in Salem, Massachusetts where in 1692 there was a prominent case of witchcraft and the Tarbell family were mentioned in the historical documents related to the case.

Overall, the last name Tarbell has a history that can be traced to Europe and it is now commonly found in the United States.

Variations of the surname Tarbell

The surname Tarbell is derived from the Old French word tardebelle, which translates to "late bloomer." Variants of this surname include Tardebell, Tarble, Tarblee, Tarboll, and Tarbell. Spelling variants include Tardeville, Tardevel, Tarbrell, and Tarvill.

Surnames with a similar origin include:

-Turville: derived from the Old French term tardebelle, meaning late bloomer.

-Tardiff: derived from the Middle English word tarden, meaning slow.

-Tardi: derived from the Latin term tardus, meaning slow.

-Tardrew: derived from the Old French term tardebelle, meaning late bloomer.

-Tard: derived from the Middle English word tarden, meaning slow.

-Tarpey: derived from the Irish Gaelic term torp, meaning slow.

-Turp: derived from the Irish Gaelic word torp, meaning slow.

-Tabor: derived from the Middle English term tabberer, meaning late bloomer.

-Tabber: derived from the Middle English term tabberer, meaning late bloomer.

-Tarbin: derived from the Old German word tarpon, meaning delay.

-Tarpley: derived from the Middle English term tarpan, meaning slow.

These surnames all share a similar origin from the Middle English term tarden, meaning slow or late bloomer. As such, they all share a common root, although the exact spelling and pronunciation may vary.

Famous people with the name Tarbell

  • Ida Tarbell: A pioneering American journalist, author, and leading muckraker. She is best remembered for her 1904 book The History of Standard Oil, which was one of the first exposés of big business and corporate greed.
  • Elinor “Tad” Tarbell: Eldest daughter of Ida and a voracious traveler. She is said to have served as a role model for her mother's investigative journalism.
  • Margaret Tarbell: A lawyer, professor, and the second daughter of Ida. She was one of the first lawyers to practice corporate law in Texas.
  • Robert Lincoln Tarbell: A civil engineer and the youngest child of Ida. He constructed the first underwater tunnel to connect Manhattan with Brooklyn at the time.
  • Kenneth Tarbell: An American botanist. He was the first researcher to document the utilization of vascular tissue in plant species.
  • Charles D. Tarbell: A Major General in the United States Air Force. His most notable achievement was commanding the 5th United States Air Force in Vietnam, Korea, Japan, and the Pacific.
  • Miles Tarbell: An American politician who served in the Massachusetts Senate in 1840.
  • Albert H.Tarbell: A Union Army colonel and brevet brigadier general during the Civil War. He later went on to become a lawyer in Massachusetts.
  • Cora B. Tarbell: An American lawyer and civil rights activist. She worked for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People during the 1950s.
  • Winfred P. Tarbell: An All-American college football player. He played halfback for the Princeton Tigers from 1920 to 1922.

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