What is the origin of the last name Howell?

The last name Howell has its origins in Wales, deriving from the Welsh personal name Hywel or Howell. Hywel, meaning "eminent" or "notable," was a popular given name in medieval Wales, and eventually evolved into a hereditary surname. The Howell surname spread beyond Wales through migration and emigration, particularly during the British colonization of North America. Today, Howell is a common surname found predominantly in Wales, England, and the United States.

Countries of origin for the last name Howell

The last name Howell has a long and rich history. It is a patronymic surname of Welsh origin, derived from the personal name Hywel or Howell. The name Hywel comes from the Old Welsh name Hughe, which is believed to have been derived from the Roman name Hugo. This indicates that the surname Howell has ancient roots and possibly traces its origins back to Roman times.

The Howell name is predominantly found in Wales, where it is relatively common. It is also found in other English-speaking countries, particularly the United States, Canada, and Australia, due to migration patterns over the centuries. The surname Howell has also been anglicized to other variations, such as Howells and Howel, further contributing to its prevalence.

One notable feature of the Howell surname is its prevalence among people of Welsh descent. This suggests a strong connection to Welsh history and culture. Wales has a rich storytelling tradition, and family names often provide a glimpse into that history. The prevalence of the Howell surname among people of Welsh heritage indicates a sense of pride and preservation of their Welsh roots.

The meaning of the surname Howell is primarily associated with qualities such as wisdom, intellect, and prominence. The personal name Hywel, from which Howell is derived, is known to mean “eminent,” “illustrious,” or “bright.” This suggests that those who bear the Howell surname may have ancestral ties to individuals who were admired or respected in their communities.

The Howell surname has undergone various spelling variations throughout history. This is not uncommon for surnames with ancient origins. Different documents and record-keeping practices have led to alternate spellings, such as Howell, Howel, Howells, and even variations like Howells-Doyle. However, these different spellings still stem from the same ancestral line, representing the versatility of the Howell name over time.

Genealogical research can provide insight into the specific origins and branches of the Howell surname. By tracing family trees, individuals may discover connections to famous or influential individuals who bore the same last name. This process can shed light on shared histories and narratives, fostering a sense of belonging and identity.

Overall, the Howell surname carries a combination of ancient Welsh heritage and a sense of prominence and wisdom. It has been passed down through generations and adopted by individuals across different English-speaking countries. The versatile spelling variations and vast genealogical possibilities contribute to the ongoing exploration and appreciation of this intriguing last name.

Interesting facts about the last name Howell

  • The surname Howell originated in Wales and is of Welsh origin.
  • The name Howell is derived from the Welsh personal name “Hywel,” which means “eminent” or “prominent.”
  • The Howell family name is prevalent in England, Wales, and other English-speaking countries.
  • The Howell surname has several variant spellings, including Howel, Howells, Howellin, and Howelkin, among others.
  • Famous individuals with the surname Howell include the American professional golfer Charles Howell III and American psychologist Roger Howell Jr.
  • The Howell name has multiple possible origins, including from the Welsh patronymic name “ap Hywel,” meaning “son of Hywel.”
  • Howell is a relatively common surname in Wales, particularly in the counties of Powys, Pembrokeshire, and Glamorganshire.
  • The name Howell has been traced back to medieval Wales, with records of its usage dating back to the 13th century.
  • The Howell DNA Project is a genetic genealogy project that aims to connect individuals with the Howell surname and explore their common ancestry.
  • In America, the Howell surname can be found among various ethnicities, including Welsh immigrants, African Americans, and individuals of English and Scottish descent.

Name Rank


There are around 112041 people with the last name Howell in the US

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