KNOWLES / KNOLES / NOLES
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The  KNOWLES  Name

                    

The Many Spellings of the surname KNOWLES  (NOLES)

SPELLING  of  KNOWLES

The following is a list of the different spellings you may find in genealogies, local histories, census records, land records, court documents, etc. for the surname KNOWLES,  KNOLES,  NOLES or NOWELS.  Some of these spellings are a surname in their own right (perhaps yours); however, the spellings listed below have been used in a record that was apparently referring to a person whose surname was elsewhere spelled Knowles, Knoles, Noles, Nowels.

Knoales,  Knoall,  Knoel,  Knoell,  Knohl,  Knohls,  Knol,  Knolas,  Knolds,  Knolers,  Knole,  Knoles, Knolis,  Knoll,  Knolle,  Knolles,  Knollis,  Knolls,  Knollys,  Knols,  Knolus,  Knooles,  Knools,  Knoul, Knouels,  Knouls,  Know,  Knowales,  Knowel,  Knoweles,  Knowell,  Knowells,  Knowels,  Knowl,  Knowlas,  Knowlds,  Knowle,  Knowles,  Knowless,  Knowlis,  Knowls,  Nawels,  Nawls,  Noel,  Noels,  Nolas,  Noldes,  Nolds,  Noles,  Nolis,  Noll,  Nolles,  Nollis,  Nolls,  Nols,  Nolse,  Nolss,  Noluss,  Noul,  Nouls,  Nowal,  Nowall,  Nowel,  Nowell,  Nowells,  Nowels,  Nowil,  Nowill,  Nowl,  Nowles,  Nowliss,  Nowls.

Would life have been easier if our surname had been HILL?

History of the name KNOWLES

 


 

SURNAME  VARIANTS

A quick way to identify the many possible variant spellings for your surname is by using the program Surname Suggestion List (SSL) by Matt Combs.  This program is designed to assist you is searching the Internet for your surname variants.  The SSL program is available to download for free with the stipulation that you make a small donation to the developer, if the program was useful to you.  The SSL will create three (3) lists of similar sounding surnames.  The lists are based on how good a sound match the other surnames are to the primary spelling of your surname.
 

Surname  Variants

The lists below were generated by SSL for:

KNOWLES

KNOLES

NOLES

NOWELS


 

KNOWLES

SURNAME   SUGGESTION  LIST

LIST  1 LIST 2 LIST 3
KNOLES KNOLE KNALL
KNOLLES KNOLLS KNEISLEY
KNOWLER KNOLLYS KNELL
KNOWLES KNOWL KNILL
NOWLES KNOYLE KNIOLA
  NOLES KNISLEY
  NOWLEY KNOELL
    KNOLL
    KNOYELL
    KNOYL
    KNULL
    NAILS
    NALE
    NALLEY
    NALLS
    NEALE
    NEELEY
    NEHLS
    NEILE
    NEILS
    NELLES
    NELLIS
    NEWLEE
    NEWLY
    NILE
    NILES
    NILLES
    NISLEY
    NOEL
    NOELL
    NOL
    NOLA
    NOLAS
    NOLAU
    NOLE
    NOLL
    NOLLE
    NOLLEY
    NOYLE
    NULLE

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KNOLES

SURNAME   SUGGESTION  LIST

LIST  1 LIST 2 LIST 3
KNOLES Newall Newal
NOWELL Nowall Newall
Nowell Nowialis Newhall
Nowels   Newholz
    Newill

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NOLES

SURNAME   SUGGESTION  LIST

LIST  1 LIST 2 LIST 3
Knoles Knole Kneisley
Knolles Hnollys Kniola
Knolls Knoyell Knoell
Knowles Knoyle Knoll
Nelles Nale Nails
Niles Nalley Nall
Nilles Nalls Nalle
Nobles Nealey Nallie
Nolas Nealis Nally
Nole Nealley Neale
NOLES Neeley Nealeigh
Nolley Neeole Nealious
Nowles Nelhaus Neally
Nowley Nelis Neel
  Nelisse Neele
  Nellis Neeley
  Newlee Nelhaus
  Nile Nehls
  Nisley Neile
  Noel Neilly
  Nol Neils
  Nols Neligh
  Nolau Nell
  Noli Nellhaus
  Nolie Nelli
  Noll Nellie
  Nolle Niel
  Noyle Niello
    Nila
    Noel
    Noell
    Noyola
    Null
    Nulle

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NOWELS

SURNAME   SUGGESTION  LIST

LIST  1 LIST 2 LIST 3
Knowell Newsll Newal
Nowell Newall Newall
NOWELS Nowialis Newhall
    Newholz
    Newill

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History of the Name KNOWLES *

Many centuries ago in the middle ages (pre 1400) in England, most people were typically known simply by a name given to them at baptism (John, Robert or Mary). If (when) you could trace back the KNOWLES (or NOLES) families generation by generation, from one parent to the previous one, you would eventually arrive at a man who lived in a cottage near a prominent hill (or knoll). Whenever this Knowles ancestor had occasion to pay his tax or sell some of his farming produce, he would more than likely be recorded by his known given name and the obvious identification 'who lived on the 'knoll'. In the language of the middle age, this would appear as 'cknoll', the English word for hill. It is highly probable that throughout the English countryside in the middle ages there were many such people identified with a prominent hill that were of no direct kin, but who became known as a KNOWLES. Therefore there is no one progenitor for all the KNOWLES (or NOLES) families in the world. 

One of the earliest accounts of the KNOWLES name appears in the property assessments of Devon in the year 1185 in which the name Robert de la Cnolle is listed.  In the records of Cumberland in 1279, the preposition is dropped and the name Thomas Knolle takes on the appearance of the hereditary form of the name.  The terminal 's' in Knowles is patronymic indicating 'son of Knowle' and appears for the first time in the 14th century.

There are several illustrious families of the Knowles name who have achieved noble status.  Armorial bearings are registered for those of aristocratic pedigree and others of humble background who nevertheless have achieved this honor through their civic and military accomplishments.  A significant grant of arms shows a red shield with a silver band on which there are three shells colored black.


English people with the Knowles surname are known to be among the first settlers of New England having arrived as early as 1635 aboard the ship "Susan and Ellen". They were British subjects taking up homesteads in a colonial territory and dutifully signed an oath of allegiance to the King and the Church of England. Others of the name arrived soon after and included the Rev. John Knowles who settled in Plymouth in 1639; his son Richard was a master ship-builder. Another JOHN Knowles settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1650 and later purchased a home in Northampton, New Hampshire.  

[History of Knowles name developed by R. B. Noles based on an article appearing in the Lexington Herald, Lexington, KY, October 14, 1970, by Charles Guarino & Albert Seddon in their "What's in a Name?" column and several other sources]  

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"Black's Surnames of Scotland"

According to "Black's Surnames of Scotland", the Knowles surname was originally derived from the word "cnoc".   In most of Scotland, cnoc is pronounced "knock" or "knox" (as in Fort Knox).   In some parts of Scotland, cnoc is pronounced "crock".   When translated cnoc means "knoll", or the plural "knolls".  Hence the English translation of cnoc combined with a corrupted spelling resulted in "Knowles".  According to "Black", the most likely location for the Scottish "Knolls" was a place in the barony of Renfrewshire called "Knock".  As an aside, the motto of Clan McLea is "Cnoc Aingeil", which translates as "Fire Knoll".  This landmark is located on the ancient estate of Baron Livingstone (the McLea clan chief) on the Isle of Lismore.   The Livingstones who lived there were known as "muinntir a chnuic" - the people of the knoll.   The Clan McLea motto may be a reference to "Cnoc Aingeil", or it may be a reference to another knoll on the estate known as "Cnoc a Bhreith", the Judgment Knoll.

  (the "Black's" and McLea Clan information courtesy of Robert Livingston via Fred Hembree)

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DICTIONARY  of
AMERICAN  FAMILY  NAMES

by  Patrick  Hanks, Editor

Family Historians, whether their efforts are based on traditional genealogical paperwork research or now on the results of DNA tests, they need to eventually understand the meaning and source for the surnames they are researching.  The research for the Knowles Progenitors is no exception to this premise.

 

A quick way to identify the many possible variant spellings for your surname is by using the program Surname Suggestion List (SSL) by Matt Combs.  This program is designed to assist you is searching the Internet for your surname variants.  The SSL program is available to download for free with the stipulation that you make a small donation to the developer, if the program was useful to you.  The SSL will create three (3) lists of similar sounding surnames.  The lists are based on how good a sound match the other surnames are to the primary spelling of your surname.

Surname  Variants

A new reference book, the "Dictionary of American Family Names" (DAFN) published by the Oxford University Press in 2003 (Patrick Hanks, editor) is now available to assist us understand the origins of our surnames.  This handsome three-volume set of hard-back books containing nearly 2,000 pages covers names from Aaberg to Zywicki.  The DAFN is sold by Oxford University Press and is available in most good genealogical libraries.

The DAFN is the first major attempt to explain the history and origin of the 72,000 most frequent family names in the United States.  The General Introduction in Volume One is an outstanding overview of the history of surnames from around the world as well as a discussion of surname frequencies and the source for the definitions used in this work.  This series of articles covers the origins of surnames in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France, Germany, Scandinavia, Finland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Poland, Russia, Hungary, India, China, Korea and Japan as well as Jewish, Slovenian, Latvian, Arabic and Muslim family names.

The DAFN surname entries are structured to provide the surname (with alternate spellings), a comparative frequency of the surname in the U.S., the source language and origin of the surname, original spelling, typology, etymology and, in some cases, an identification of forebears.

The DAFN does a great job explaining the typology of family names, including; patronymic, metronymic, habitational, topographical, regional, occupational, status, nicknames, anecdotal, seasonal, humanistic, ornamental, as well as variants resulting from diminutives, augmentatives and pejoratives.

The DAFN is a book about the history of names, not the history of families;  however, there are examples where the bearers of some American surnames are almost certainly all descended from a single progenitor from the old country.

The following listing contains examples from the DAFN pertinent to members of the KKNFA (the number in parenthesis following the surname refers to the frequency of the surname in the sample of 88.7 million listings in the DAFN database):


HILL  (141,823)  English and Scottish: extremely common and widely distributed topographical name for some one who lived on or by a hill, Middle English hill (Old English hyll).  2. English: from the medieval personal name Hill, a short form of Hilary (or Hillary) or of a Germanic (male or female) compound name with the first element hild 'strife', 'battle'.  3. German: from a short form of HILDERBRAND or any of a variety of other names, male and female, containing Germanic hild as the first element.   4. Jewish (American): Anglicized form of various Jewish names of similar sound or meaning.   5. English translation of Finnish Mäki ('hill'), or any of various other names formed with this element, such as Mäkinen, Heinämäki, and Kivimäki.

HILLS  (4,441)  English (southeastern):  1. variant of HILL.  2. patronymic from HILL 2.

KNOCK  (332)  1. North German form of Knoche.  2. German: possible a habitational name from Knock near Emden.  3. English: topographical name for someone living by a hill, from Middle English knocke 'hill' (Old English) cnoc).

KNOELL  (214)  German (Knöll): nickname for a peasant or for a crude uncouth person, from middle High German knolle 'sod'., 'lump of earth'

KNOLES  (272)  English: Variant spelling of KNOWLES.

KNOLL  (3,945)  1. English and German: topographic name for someone living near a hilltop or mountain peak, from Middle English knolle ‘hilltop’, ‘hillock’ (Old English cnoll), Middle High German knol ‘peak’.  In some cases the English name is habitational, from one of the many places named with this word, for example Knole in Kent or Knowle in Dorset, West Midlands, etc.  2. German and Jewish (Ashkenazic) nickname for a peasant or a crude clumpsy person, from Middle High German knolle ‘lump’, ‘clod’, German Knolle.

KNOLLE  (118)  German: variant of Knoll.

KNOLLMAN  (108)  German: topographical name for someone living near the summit of a hill or mountain.

KNOWLES  (10,731)  1. English: topographic name for someone who lived at the top of a hill or by a hillock, from a genitive or plural form of the Middle English knoll ‘hilltop’, ‘hillock’ (Old English cnoll or habitational name from any of the many places named with this word).  2. Irish: Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó’Tnúthghail.

KNOWLTON  (3,243)  English: habitational name from either of two places so named, one in Dorcet and the other in Kent.  Both are named in Old English as ‘the settlement (tun) by the hilltop (cnoll)’.

KNOX  (14,847)  1. Scottish, northern England, and northern Irish; from a genitive or plural form of Old English cnocc ‘round-topped hill’, hence a topographical name for someone who lived on a hilltop, or a habitational name from one of the places in Scotland and northern England named with this element, now spelled Knock, in particular one in Renfrewshire.  2. The surname is also borne by eastern Ashkenazic Jews as an Americanized form of one or more like-sounding Jewish surnames.

MARVEL  (1,419)  English: 1. nickname for a person considered prodigious in some way. From Middle English, Old French merveille ‘miracle’ (Latin mirabilia, originally neuter plural of the adjective mirabilis ‘admirable’, ‘amazing’).  The nickname was no doubt sometimes given with mocking intent.  2. (of Norman origin): habitational name, from places called Merville.

MONTGOMERY  (39,082)  English, Scottish, and Northern Irish of Norman origin:  Habitational name from a place in Calvados, France, so named from Old French mont 'hill' + a Germanic personal name composed of the elements guma 'man' + ric 'power'.   In Ireland this surname has been Gaelicized as Mac Iomarie and in Scotland as Mac Gumaraid.

NEWELL  (12,001)  1. English and Irish; variant of Neville. 2. English variant of Noel. 3. Irish (north County Kildare): Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó’Tnúthghail, ’descendant of Tnúthgal’, a personal name composed of the elements tnúth ’desire’, ’envy’ + gal ’valor’.

NOCK  (646)  English: topographical name for someone who lived by an oak tree, from misdivision of Middle English atten oke 'at the oak'.  2. South German from Tyrolean nock, nog 'rounded hill', 'rock', hence a topographical name for someone who lived by such a feature, or a nickname from the same word used in the sense 'short and fat'.

NOEL  (9,087)  English and French: nickname for someone who had some special connection with the Christmas season, such as owning the particular feudal duty of providing a yule-log to the lord of the manor, or having given a memorable performance as the Lord of Misrule.  The name is from Middle English.  Old French nouel ‘Christmas’ (Latin natalis (dies) ‘birthday’).  It was also used as a given name for someone born during the Christmas period.

NOELL  (631)  1. German (Nöll): habitational name from any of several places in Rhineland and Westphalia named Nöll. 2. Catalan: nickname from Novell ‘young’, ‘new’ (Latin novellas ‘new’).

NOELLE  (104)  1. German: respelling of NOELL.  2. Respelling of French NOEL.

NOESKE  (124)  German (Nóske): nickname for someone with a remarkable nose, from Sorbian nósk,  a diminutive of nos, nós, 'nose'.

NOLES  (1,198)  An altered spelling of Knowles.

NOLL  (4,241)  1.  German: from a short form of any of various medieval personal names derived from Germanic personal names ending in -n + wald 'rule', for example ARNOLD and REINWALD.   2. South German: nickname for a rotund or naive person, from Middle High German nol 'hillock', 'knoll'.   3. Jewish (Ashkenazic): of uncertain origin; perhaps an occupational name from Yiddish nol 'awl'.

NOLLE  (125)  1.  German:  variant of NOLL.  2. North German: habitational name from the Nolle district in Westphalia.  3. North German (Nölle); topographical name from Middle High German nol, nel(le) 'peak', 'summit', also the name from several streams so named in Westphalia.  4. German (Nolle): variant of NOLL 1.   5. French (Nollé): variant of NOLET.

NOWELL  (2,143)  English:  variant spelling of NOEL.

NOWELS  (106)  Altered form of NOWELL or NOEL.

PRETTY  (233)  English (East Anglia): nickname for a fine or handsome fellow, from Middle English prety, prity ‘fine’, ‘pleasing’, ‘excellent’ (Old English prættig ‘clever, ‘artful’, ‘wily’).

PRETTYMAN  (790)  English (East Anglia): elaborated form of Pretty, or an occupational name for a servant of someone called Pretty.

 

Robert B. Noles
Director, KKNFA

Revised: June 2007 

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 Date of last edit:   Saturday, January 10, 2009
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