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In Gordon Kearvell’s original research through the various registers he lists the

following 19 variations on the spelling of our surname :-


Karvale Karvall Karvell Karvil Kearnell Kearvele


Kearvell Kearvil Kearvile Kearvill Kerval Kervel


Kervele Kervell Kervil Kervile Kervill Kerwell Kirwall


The variance in recording of names in earlier days is largely as a result of the name being spoken and not written. The spoken word differed from area to area with the different dialects. When it came to recording your christening, death or marriage in the Parish Church Records you relied upon the priest or parish clerk to enter your name. In most cases you probably didn’t know how it was spelled in any case.


The present day Kearvell was first seen in Parish Registers in 1752 (although in Bishops Transcripts it first appeared in 1724) and became the "norm" from the mid 1840s, soon after Civil Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages took over from Parish Records.


With the advent of computerised records you might hope that variations would reduce. But again we are dependent upon transcription from the written or spoken word. To give you an idea of this I list below all the variations seen in recently produced records :-


Kearvel Kearwell Keawell Harvell Hearvell Hearvill Hearwell Hoarvell Kearvale Kerrill Kewell

and, unbelievably, Ke…de.. (Oh! The joys of computerised records!!)


and, (get ready for this) Vicarwell !! (Recorded from the 1881 Census Transcription – actually if you write our name with an open K and the downstroke of the K not touching, it is not too difficult to see why someone could misread the surname as Vicarwell)


After many hours of research, I have at last tracked down three missing brothers on the 1881 Census. Thomas, Charles Richard and Henry (Sons of Thomas and Elizabeth Kearvell from Warfield in Berkshire). They are all Commercial Clerks and living in Tottenham Middlesex. The delay in tracking them down has been because their birthplace is mis-transcribed as Wasfield (Warfield Berks) and their surname as "Keandeel" – I wonder if this was an intentional play on words by our ancestors, after all they were Commercial Clerks!!


Although we now all use the exact same spelling worldwide, the fascinating thing to hear is the different way in which the family name is pronounced. In this ‘neck of the woods’ the two syllable pronounciation is either Kearvell with the first syllable like "hear" and the second like "bell" or, the first syllable like "cur"and the second like "bull" (or combinations of any two).


What does it sound like in your branch of the family?

Kearvell as a Surname and some of its variations

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