Sparrell as a first and middle name?


The surname Sparrell is fairly rare. To my knowledge, all the current living Sparrells in the US are descended from James Newton Sparrell (~1740-1770). When researching, I occasionally run across records of people with Sparrell as their first or middle name and was curious as to the origin; and to see if I was related. The records are mainly in the South (particularly confederate soldiers) whereas most surname Sparrells are from New England or can trace back to there. I did find a reference (which unfortunately I did not record and would like help finding again) that the governor of Virginia adopted a girl with surname Sparrell because her father had been lost at sea. This is at approximately the same time that James Newton Sparrell was a sea captain between North Carolina and Massachusetts; and family lore has it that two brothers were sea captains who immigrated from England.

I would appreciate any information anyone comes across on this adopted daughter:

  • records of her parents
  • records of her adoption
  • records of her marriage and children

I would like to use this to confirm my hypothesis the first and middle names in the South are family names descended from her.


Posted 2012-10-26T11:39:26.847

Reputation: 3 685



Google is your friend (Other search engines are available): I used Mary Sparrell 1747 as the search terms but suspect Mary Spyrel might also have yielded useful results. (You may wish to investigate other alternate spellings).

This site mentions what I think is the Mary Sparrell you're searching for, marrying Peter Hyde Saunders:

This one says she was sister to Judge Fleming Saunders of Flat Creek, Campell:

At least one family tree on Ancestry has her as the ward of Governor William Branch Giles of Virginia.

Also mentioned here:\RR1609.xml

And here:

There are lots of other references to her as sister to Judge Fleming Saunders and ward of Governor William Giles, although no sources were cited in anything I've found.


Posted 2012-10-26T11:39:26.847


Thank you! How did you know to start with Mary Sparrell 1747? – Duncan – 2012-11-02T13:13:42.460

@Duncan, I first searched on Ancestry and found a number of (unsourced) trees that suggested a birth 0f 1747. Incidentally, have you seen:

– None – 2012-11-02T13:31:55.143


You may find that the convention of using maternal maiden names as given names may be involved Duncan. My own father has a given name that was his grandmother's maiden name, and a middle name that was his mother's maiden name. It resulted in a combination that might appear unusual to someone outside of the family who didn't understand the reason.

There are less than a dozen references to Sparrell in the England & Wales civil registration index, and there's no obvious geographical relationship between them. Definitely a rare surname.


Posted 2012-10-26T11:39:26.847

Reputation: 5 762