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Family spelling variants includes Coull, Coule, Coole, Cowell, Coul, Coll, Coal, Coles

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COLE Family History


The surname Coyle has origins in England, Scotland and Ireland. The Irish Coyle stems from the gaelic "Mac Giolla Chomhghaill" meaning "the son of the servant of St. Comhghall".


Cole (Variants: Coles, Coal, Coll, Coul, Cowell, Coole, Coule, Coull) In English, a pet form of Nicholas from a Middle English personal name col, derived from the Old English col (from col ‘(char)coal’, presumably signifying someone of swarthy appearance or black hair.

Alternative sources, the Old Norse cognate Koli. Old Scandinavian Kolr and Koli, either from a nickname ‘the swarthy one’ or a short form of names in Kol- ) and Old Scandinavian Kollr, from a nickname, perhaps ‘the bald one’. It is possible that Cole is an Americanised spelling of German Kohl. In some cases, Cole is a translation of the French surname Charbonneau.

In Scottish and Irish, when not of English origin, the name is a reduced and altered form of McCool. The Cole family originally lived in Cornwall. Their name, however, is derived from the Old English word coll, which means hill, and indicates that the original bearer lived near such a landform.

In 1891, the general population was widespread across England and Wales with 68,614 occurrences and a further 131 in Scotland. In 1881, there were a frequent 2,103 occurrences in Devon and Plymouth being a top parish for the surname with 277 occurrences. It was also recorded a top surname in Bristol district.

Earlier bearers from the Bristol area include Thomas Cool, 1688 in IGI (Bristol, Gloucs) and Steven Cole, 1538 in IGI (Bristol, Gloucs).

Farmer, Agricultural Labourer and Coal Miner were the top 3 reported jobs worked by Ellis in 1881. The most common Ellis occupation in the UK was Farmer and a less common occupation for the Ellis was Labourer.

Nat King Cole (1919-1965) was a well known American jazz pianist and vocalist, widely considered one of the most important musical personalities in United States history


1881, 1891 Census

1881 Census in Bristol, Gloucestershire 

1881 Cencus in Devon

Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003

Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890

The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016

1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain

1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain


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Tell us about any famous COLE (or surname variant) you think we should add here. We will get our genealogists to check them out and add them to the list. Thanks!


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Has anybody been using this chat recently? Anyways, I'm looking for Robert from Cork or Tip- don't know which cause all we have are his shillelagh, his death certificate, and his wife's stuff. We visited her family in Ireland and even they don't know squat about Rob.

Andy cole

Hi all,my grandfather's family where from Co cavan.he moved to meath and married my grandmother where they later lived in Tullyallen co Louth.look forward to hearing from other Cole clan members


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