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Surname Wadell - Meaning and Origin

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Wadell: What does the surname Wadell mean?

The surname Wadell is believed to originate from various sources. It could possibly be derived from the Old German name 'Waldheri", which means ‘rule’ and ‘warrior’. The name was typically given to someone who was powerful in battle or a mighty ruler. The surname may also be derived from two Old English words 'wade' which means "to go" or a 'dell' or 'valley', implying someone who lived near or traveled through a valley. The name Wadell might also be a locational surname, implying that it was originally given to people who came from a specific place, such as 'Waddell', a village in East Lothian, Scotland. Lastly, it also might have derived from the Old Norse word ‘vadill’, which was the name for a type of cloth or a bundle of cloth. Therefore, it may have been originally assigned to a person involved in the trade or manufacture of cloth. Like many surnames, the exact origins can be difficult to trace and it's highly probable that the surname has different origins in different regions.

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Wadell: Where does the name Wadell come from?

Wadell is a surname commonly found in both the United States and the United Kingdom. In the United States, its geographical distribution is concentrated on the east coast, with a strong presence in New England and the mid-Atlantic states. In the UK, it is most widespread in Scotland. It is also prominent in Northern Ireland, as well as several counties in eastern England.

In the U.S., the state of Pennsylvania has the highest number of Wadel(l) households, followed by New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York. In Scotland, Midlothian and Lanarkshire have the highest proportions of Wadells.

The origin of the name is unclear, but it is likely Germanic in origin. It may derive from the Old High German word "waltho," which means "ruler." Alternatively, it may derive from the Old English word "weard," which means "guardian."

Given the geographical dispersal of the name, many Wadells have gone on to different parts of the world. In the United States, Wadells are concentrated in large cities — such as Philadelphia and New York City — and smaller towns — such as Uniontown in Pennsylvania — alike. In the UK, there are large concentrations of Wadells in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Northern Ireland.

Even though the exact origins of the name Wadell are unclear, its presence today shows that this was once a strong and widespread surname. And so, the Wadell family has been able to make its mark across the world, and now its unique name can be seen in many places.

Variations of the surname Wadell

Wadell is an Anglo-Saxon name of locational origin, derived from the place of Wadell near Leeds in Yorkshire. The name first appeared in records dating from the 12th century. Wadell is a variant spelling of the surnames Waddell, Waddilove, Waddilove, Wadel and Waudell. The surname can also be found in the United States as Wadleigh, Wodell and Wodle.

In Scotland, the surname Waddell was derived from the barony of Wedale in Midlothian, while in Ireland, the surname Maydwell is an Anglicized form of the Irish name McLeadwell, derived from the Gaelic MacLeoid. The name is also found as the old English name Wealdale, which means ‘wold in the valley’ and is also found as the Welsh name Gwaddell.

The spellings Waddill and Waddel are also found as variations of the original surname Wadell. The variation Whittle is also found, derived from the Old English, ‘witlle’, meaning ‘white meadow’. Another common spelling variation, Wadley, is found in England, likely derived from the place name near Chalfont St. Giles in Buckinghamshire.

The surname Wadell is also found in Scotland as Weddle, Wiedle, Weadle, Woddell, Weddell, Wudell and Woodall. In the United States, the name is spelled Weddle, Wydell and Wedell. In Hungary, the surname is spelled Wadel or Wadel and is of Jewish origin.

Famous people with the name Wadell

  • Jesse Waddell: American author and human rights advocate
  • Joey Waddell: Former professional baseball player and manager
  • Daniel Waddell: American actor
  • Jimmy Waddell: Former Major League Baseball player
  • Colleen Waddell: British actress
  • Peter Waddell: Cinematographer
  • David Waddell: Actor
  • Richard Waddell: American artist
  • Petra Waddell: Singer
  • Joe Waddell: Professional ukulele player

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