Sunday, August 31, 2008

Origin of Steele

Given my interest with all things historical, I'm a bit surprised I've never tried this before. After reading around on Clare's blog, I thought I'd have a go at it and see if I could track down a little history of my family name. I've known for quite some time that "Steele" is Irish-Scots in origin. The earliest spelling I could find was "Stele", from Middle English. I recall reading some time ago that the first mention of my family name dates back to the Battle of Hastings. The fortunes of war dictated that my forebears chose the winning side of the battle and were awarded lands in Northern England and Scotland as a result. Searching around for a bit, I found that, going back to 1891, there are still Steeles clustered around Scotland, particularly in Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Midlothian.

In terms of direct ancestors, my knowledge runs a little thin, though I do know through the family of a John Steele that emigrated to Canada in the 1870's, meaning I am the 5th or 6th generation of Steeles in Canada. For the most part they are scattered around Ontario, making me something of an anomaly I suppose what with all my travels around the arctic. I'd like to say I have some famous relatives but I'm not directly related to Sam Steele (of Mountie fame), Remington Steele of television reknown, nor to Danielle Steel, the author.

Here's an interesting thought: What kind of life would I have led if my mother had named me Robin/Robyn Steele?


Frank White said...


I am a Steele as well, though not by name. I ordered a coat of arms from the House of Names, and they sent a family history that confirms what you are saying about the Battle of Hastings. They also said that our ancestors rebelled against William the Conqueror and were driven out of their lands.

Frank White (USA)