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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Cole family come from? What is the English Cole family crest and coat of arms? When did the Cole family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Cole family history?

The Cole history begins in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. Quite distinct from Devon, the adjoining county, Cornwall had its own spoken language until the late 18th century. The Cole history began here. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames were derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. 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 land form.


Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Cole, Coles, Coal, Coale, Coalas and others.

First found in Cornwall where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cole research. Another 207 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 1622, 1681, 1656, 1663, 1627, 1697, 1616, 1697, 1659, 1660, 1590, 1680, 1633, 1713, 1634 and 1797 are included under the topic Early Cole History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 255 words(18 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cole Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Cole family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 83 words(6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Discovered in the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Cole:

Cole Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Francis Cole, who arrived in Virginia in 1616
  • Mrs. William Cole, who arrived in Virginia in 1616
  • Jon Cole, who landed in Virginia in 1618
  • Samuel Cole, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1630
  • Richard Cole, who arrived in Maryland in 1633

Cole Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Sara Cole, who landed in Virginia in 1704
  • Jeremiah Cole, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Geo Cole, who arrived in Virginia in 1718
  • Hance Jareck Cole, aged 26, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732
  • Diana Cole, who arrived in Maryland in 1740

Cole Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Hugh Cole, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1803-1827
  • Patrick Cole, who landed in New York in 1812
  • Wm Cole, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812
  • Charles Cole, who landed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania in 1833
  • Ellen Cole, aged 25, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1835


  • Robert MacFarlan Cole (1889-1986), American chemical engineer, inventor, and author
  • Dandridge MacFarlan Cole (1921-1965), American aerospace engineer, futurist, lecturer, and author
  • Janet Cole (1922-2002), original name of Kim Hunter, American Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award winning actress
  • Nat King Cole (1917-1965), stage name of Nathaniel Adams Coles, American jazz singer widely considered one of the most important musical personalities in United States history
  • Sergeant Darrell Samuel Cole (1920-1945), American Marine awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1945
  • Lieutenant Colonel Robert G Cole (1915-1944), American soldier awarded both the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Croix de Guerre during WWII
  • Allan Cole (b. 1943), American author and television writer, best known for his Sten Chronicles
  • Alphaeus Philemon Cole (1876-1988), American artist, engraver and etcher who died at the age of 112
  • William Randolph "Cozy" Cole (1909-1981), American jazz drummer
  • Edward B. Cole (1879-1918), American Marine Corps officer, recipient of the Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Cross, Légion d'honneur and the Croix de Guerre, eponym of the destroyer USS Cole (DD-155)



  • Cole Foot Prints by Camelia T. Denys.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Deum Cole regem serva
Motto Translation: Worship God, obey the King.


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  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  4. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  5. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  6. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  7. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  8. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  9. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Cole Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Cole Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 1 September 2014 at 07:39.

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