Neville One Name study

Initial thoughts


My maternal family name is Neville. I have an interest in medieval literature both fact historical and fiction. I have also had an interest in genealogy for over twenty years. Further still I have recently started studying genealogy with the University of Strathclyde as a post graduate student. These things have all combined to trigger this desire to know more about the name and its origins. A lot has been written but it seems quite disparate. The name Neville is inescapable for anyone reading about medieval history although my knowledge of exactly how these Nevilles were intertwined with royalty is still hazy and one of my first challenges; to broaden my knowledge of that part of Neville history. It appears to be well documented as is the genealogy.

Then how do the also ran Nevilles including my own line fit in. Is there any connection with these noble lines. I suspect not – my instinct is that there is more than one origin to the name.

The current origins from Ancestry are

Neville Name Meaning
Irish and English (of Norman origin): habitational name from Neuville in Calvados or Néville in Seine-Maritime, both so called from Old French neu(f) ‘new’ (Latin novus) + ville ‘settlement’ (see Villa). Irish (Munster): assimilation of the Gaelic name Ó Niadh (see Nee) and sometimes of Ó Cnaimhín (see Nevin).

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press

My challenge here is to pin down the sources on which this dictionary is relying. Added to that the source they quote American Dictionary of Family Names is not right. I want something that looks at the name in general not just in relation to American names. The Oxford University Press (OUP) has recently published a new dictionary entitled The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland. I had a brief look at this whilst free access was allowed but I need to access it again.

The following is the relevant data on Ancestry. It will be quite a challenge to bring all this together and clearly I will need some help so will be looking for keen family historians who have an interest in this surname. I will want to collect data but my aim is that should be far more than just a data collection exercise. I hope I can live up to my own expectations.

  • 4,293,088 Historical Documents with Neville
  • 92,637 Birth, Marriage, and Deaths
  • 175,803 Census and Voter Lists
  • 22,338 Military Records
  • 20,116 Immigration Records
  • 3,882,194 Member Trees

Michael Neville-Turner

6 December 2016


Ancestry. Neville Family History. : accessed 6 December 2016.


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