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Castle: Family Name, Meaning, History, and More

04.10.12. Genealogy and Family History 1 - Old Photographs and Documents from around 1880-1940

Castle: Family Name, Meaning, History, and More

Castles were important for defense and attack during the Middle Ages. As a result, they were significant landmarks in many towns and cities. Nowaday, the word “castle” invokes images of luxury and royalty.

Over time, the name Castle became a common family name in England, Ireland, and Scotland. We will delve into the meaning, origin, and history of the Castle family name. Additionally, we will provide suggestions for researching this name and highlight famous individuals who share the Castle family name.

The Meaning and Origin of the Castle Family Name

The Castle family name has its origins in the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Great Britain. Researchers believe that the name comes from the Old Norman French word “castel,” meaning “castle.” Additionally, some researchers suggest that the name also derives from the Latin word “castellum,” which refers to someone who lived near a castle. In Ireland, Castle may be an Anglicized form of the Irish name “Ó Caisil.”

The family name Castle is a topographic family name, which means it is a last name that denotes a place. It was used to identify individuals who were either employed in a castle or held positions such as governor or constable within a castle. Additionally, it may have referred to people who lived on the land near a castle.

Notable Historical Figures with the Castle Family Name

The Castle family name was first recorded in Sussex, England, in 1148 when Richard and Robert Castel were recorded as the descendants of the Lords of Iystynton. Later, in 1201, John Castle lived on estates in Leicestershire, England. Other early notables of the Castle family include John Castell (1380-1426), an English scholar who served as the Master of University College, Oxford. Historians also note Edmund Castle (1698-1750), who hailed from Kent and served as the Master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and Dean of Hereford.

Immigration records reveal that members of the family immigrated to the United States and Canada during the nineteenth century. Interestingly, many members of the Castle family were sent to Australia, which was a penal colony at that time. Thousands of English convicts were shipped off to Australia, such as Mr. Thomas Castle, a convict who was sentenced to life in prison during a trial in London. He was transported aboard a ship called the “Baring” in December 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia.

Inveraray castle and garden with blue sky, Inveraray,Scotland
Castle originated as a topographic family name, meaning it referred to people who lived in or near a castle.

How Common Is the Castle Family Name?

The website Forebears estimates that there are approximately 48,651 people around the world who share the Castle family name. Here is some further data on this family name.

  • Forebears states that there are 1,430 people in the United States with the Castle last name. However, the 2010 U.S. census put the number at 1,744.
  • In Australia, approximately 5,185 people have the name Castle, making it the 754th most commonly used family name.
  • In New Zealand, Castle is the 996th most popular family name, with an estimated 758 people bearing it.
  • The last name Castle is used by 7,304 people in the United Kingdom, ranking 956th.

The Falkland Islands have the highest density of people with this family name. The name also appears in South Africa, New Zealand, and Iran.

Variations of the Castle Family Name

Many family names that date back to the Middle Ages have multiple spelling variations. Scholars during that time sounded out words phonetically because there were no spelling rules, which resulted in many names being written down incorrectly.

Moreover, as people migrated worldwide, spelling errors on official documents also led to the creation of new family names. Sometimes, people changed the spelling of their names after immigration to make them easier to pronounce or to blend in with their new surroundings.

When researching your family history, it is helpful to know the most common variations of your family name. Below are some of the most common variations of the Castle family name.

  • Cästle
  • Castles
  • Castile
  • Castley
  • Castler
  • Castele
  • Casttle
  • Casstle
  • Castlle
  • Scastle

Moreover, there are variations of the Castle family name in different languages, including Castell (Catalan), Castelo (Portuguese), and Castillo (Spanish).

Man reading an old letter. Old quill pen, book and papyrus scroll on the wooden table. Historical atmosphere.
During the Middle Ages, writers spelled words phonetically, leading to spelling variations and new family names.

Researching the Castle Family Name

If you are researching this family name, here are some helpful tips for your genealogical research.

  • When researching your family history, start with what you know.
  • Organize family records, photos, birth, marriage, and death certificates. Furthermore, research military and census records. Census records are especially helpful for genealogy research because they contain the names, ages, and occupations of family members.
  • Not all genealogy records have been digitized despite the abundance of resources available online. That is why we recommend a visit to your local library. Libraries often have extensive genealogy collections and research librarians to assist with research.
  • Share your discoveries online to help other researchers. Doing so will also connect you with other family historians.

For helpful tips and resources on researching family names, the National Archives offers a wealth of documents and guidelines. If you are interested in DNA research, the Castle Family Tree DNA Project is a helpful resource. This group is actively researching the paternal DNA lines of men with the Castle family name.

Interesting Facts About the Castle Family Name

After exploring the history of the Castle family name, here are some interesting facts about this name that you may not know.

  • In the United States, the Castle family name is primarily found in California, Texas, and Kentucky.
  • Historical records reveal that it was common for members of the Castle family to marry into the Smith and Johnson families.
  • John, William, Mary, and Elizabeth are among the most common first names for Castle in historical records.
  • Experts believe that Ötzi The Iceman may be linked to the paternal lineage of the Castle family.
  • According to the DNA website 23andMe, people with the Castle family name may be at a higher risk for Celiac disease.
  • According to the 1940 US Census, 21% of men named Castle were farmers, while 12% of women worked as stenographers.
  • Sixty-two percent of the Castle family in the US identify as Republicans, which is 15.25% higher than the national average.
  • Nathan Fillion played Richard Castle, a fictional character and bestselling mystery novelist, in the TV series Castle. Writer Tim Straw wrote a series of bestselling tie-in mystery novels under the Richard Castle pseudonym.
  • Francis “Frank” Castle is the real name of the Marvel comics character The Punisher.
2020 US Census mail envelope and form.
In the 2010 census, 1,744 people had the last name Castle in the United States.

Famous People with the Castle Family Name

Here are some of the most notable people who share the Castle last name.

  • Amy Castle – Amy is an American actress known for her roles in Passions and Ally McBeal.
  • Andrew Castle – Formerly a tennis champion, he is now a British television presenter.
  • Diane Castle – Her performances in the films Planes, Trains & Automobiles, and Rapid Fire made her famous.
  • James Castle – This graphic designer who worked on The X-Files and Cheers won three Primetime Emmy Awards.
  • John Castle – He was an English film actor, best known for his role in the film The Lion in Winter.
  • Michael Castle – An American lawyer and politician, he was the 69th Governor of Delaware and served as a Republican U.S. representative from Delaware's at-large congressional district.
  • Nick Castle – This actor and director played Michael Myers in the 1978 movie Halloween.
  • William Castle – This eccentric filmmaker is now famous for his low-budget cult horror films, such as The House on Haunted Hill.

In Summary

The Castle family name dates back to the Middle Ages when it was used as a last name for people who lived in or near castles. Initially, it was most common in Great Britain, particularly England, Ireland, and Scotland. Today, it is most commonly found in the United States. Moreover, there are many spelling and language variations of the Castle name.

If you are researching the Castle family name, we recommend starting with what you know before moving on to genealogy websites. Also, consider visiting the library because libraries have extensive genealogy records that may not be available online. We also recommend sharing your family research online to help out other genealogists. You may even connect with new family members. Despite its long history, there is still much left to discover about the Castle family name.

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