Randall Surname Genealogy

Randall appears to have been an English corruption or shortening
of the given
name Randolph which has Norse-Viking origins.
The Norse name Rondulfr,
meaning “shield” and “wolf,” became Randwulf and Randulf and later
Randolph in
England.  The old English Lord
ballad was said to have referred to
the 13th century Randolph, Earl of Chester.
Randall was probably originally a
first name, Randel or Randle, and later a surname.
Early surname forms were Randal and
Randle.  The main variants to Randall
today are Randell and Randle.

Randall Resources on

Randall Ancestry

was an early surname spelling – found in Gloucestershire (Cowley and
Minchinhampton), but later generally restricted to Warwickshire in the
Midlands.  One Randle family in Bedworth
and later in Foleshill dates back to the mid-1500’s.
Richard Randle was the town clerk at nearby
Coventry from 1614 to 1636.  Notably
Bedworth and Foleshill were the places with the highest
number of Randles in the 1881 census

However, Randall has been mainly a name of southern England.

SW England.  A
notable early family was the Randall family of Bath in
Somerset.   This line probably started with John Randall who
was born in Bath is 1545 and married Johanna Webb.  Their son
Matthew was the Mayor of Bath in 1627.  From his son the Rev.
Matthew Randall came John Randall who worked as a draper in London and
departed for New England in 1667.

Randalls dated from the early 1500’s at Allington near Bridport in
Dorset.  Phillip Randall, born there in 1574, emigrated to New
England in 1630.  Meanwhile Lawrence Randall from along the Dorset
coast at Lulworth was establishing at that time what was to become the Red Lion inn.  William Randall
was the comic
there in John O’Keefe’s play The London Hermit in the
1790’s.  The Red Lion
stayed with the Randall family until 1870.

There were also Randalls in Wiltshire, particularly in and around the
town of Warminster.  John Randall was a clothier at Sutton Veny in
the early 1700’s.  His pattern and account book have
survived.  The Rev. Richard Randall, the vicar at Chicklade in the
1730’s, held the Dominick farm there and it remained with his family
until the 1850’s.   The town of Trowbridge in western
Wiltshire had a large concentration of Randalls in the 1881 census.

The Randell spelling surfaced
in Devon, dating back to the late 16th century.  Francis Randell
from Clovelly
moved to Carmarthenshire in Wales around the year 1800 and started a
business between Wales and SW England that spanned four generations of
family and lasted over a hundred years.
William Randell from Sidbury who emigrated to South Australia in
1837 was
also a seaman.  He was a pioneer of
steamboats on the Murray river

SE EnglandRandall Manor,
an imposing manor house near Gravesend in Kent, has long
disappeared.  But the Randall surname can still be found in the
Kentish Medway towns.

The Randall name also appeared at an early time, in the 1560’s, in the
parish registers of Hedgerley and Amersham in south
Buckinghamshire.  These Randalls were Baptists.  John
Randall, the Puritan clergyman, was born in Great Missenden in 1570;
while Giles Randall was recorded as an innkeeper there in 1587.

By the late 19th century the Randall name had spread throughout London
and SE England and was more numerous than in SW England.

America.  Randalls came to
New England and Maryland.

New England.
Three early Randalls here were:

  • Philip Randall from Dorset who came in 1633 and settled three
    years later in Windsor, Connecticut.  He died there in 1662 but
    left no male line.
  • William Randall from London who arrived as a prisoner on the Conception in 1635.  Five
    years later he was recorded as a cordwainer in Scituate,
    Massachusetts.  Frank Randall’s 1943 booklet Randall and Allied Families covered
    his line.
  • and Robert Randall from
    Buckinghamshire who came to Weymouth, Massachusetts in the late 1630’s.  His line was traced in William Chaffin’s 1909
    book Biographical History of Robert
    Randall and His Descendants.

Jacob Randall of uncertain parentage was born in Boston in 1667 and
moved to New Hampshire in 1700.  His descendants were all sea
captains until Benjamin, born in 1749, who made a name for himself as
the organizer of the Freewill Baptists in New England.

John Randall of the Bath Randalls had come to Rhode Island in 1667 and
purchased land in Stonington, Connecticut in 1680.  Here he was
probably helped by the fact that his wife Elizabeth was the daughter of
Sir William Molton, the founder of New London, Connecticut.

Their son John built the farmhouse at Stonington in 1720.  It
stayed with the family until the late 1800’s (it is now an inn and a
restaurant).  The Randall family became well-known as
abolitionists in the early/mid 1800’s:

“Hannah Randall, who had been born in
the house in 1816, often told stories of the slaves’ hiding place
there.  She would roll back a hooked rug to reveal a trap door
which led into a deep dark hole.  Runaways hid there by day before
heading northward to Canada and freedom.”

In the 1750’s Sylvester Randall settled in Colchester, Connecticut and Stephen Randall
moved to Long Island where he fought on the American side in the
Revolutionary War.  His brother John was one of the first settlers
of Durham, Maine.

Christopher Randall had settled
in Anne Arundel county around the year 1679.  His
descendants moved to Baltimore where an
area known as Randallstown has preserved their name.
This line is thought to have included James Ryder
Randall, author of the famous Confederate hymn Maryland,
My Maryland.

John Randall, born in 1750, had come from a planter
family in the Northern Neck of Virginia.
As a young man he established
himself as an architect in Annapolis and was three times its mayor in the early 1800’s.  After
his death in 1826, his son Alexander inherited his home near the
statehouse and his descendants owned that house until the 1950’s.

Wisconsin.  Randall
was a name in the early history of
Wisconsin.  There were in fact two early
Randalls there:

  • Alexander W. Randall, the son of Phineas Randall of
    New York, arrived there in 1840.  He became
    Governor of Wisconsin in 1858 and was later the US
    General.  His brother Edwin moved from
    there to Florida where he was appointed the Chief Justice of the
    Supreme Court in 1869.
  • while Benjamin Randall came in 1845 from Rhode Island and
    later served in the Wisconsin State Assembly; as did his son

Canada.  Joseph Randall from
Stonington was a Loyalist
who fled with his family to Canada after the Revolutionary War.  Many of them eventually returned.
But Amos Randall did make a new home for
himself in Argyle, Nova Scotia.

Two later Randall arrivals from England were
poor families who had assistance – William and Ann Randall from
Wiltshire who
came with their family to Adelaide township in Ontario in 1832; and
William Randall, this time from Suffolk, who arrived in Quebec in 1838,
his wife Sarah there, and later settled in Elmira, Ontario.  Sarah Randall lived
until 1906.

Australia.  John Randall was
tried and convicted of the theft of a watch in Manchester and
transported to
Australia on the Alexander in 1787, a
first-fleeter.  He had been a black slave
in Connecticut (probably of the Randalls of Stonington) who had
enlisted in the
British army during the Revolutionary War and came to England

became a town constable in Sydney, moved to Tasmania in 1814, but was
by a convict there in 1817.

Randall Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Randall Names

Benjamin Randall was the main
organizer of the Freewill Baptists in New England
in the late 1700’s.
Jack Randall
known as the Nonpareil, was the leading bare-knuckle
boxer in England in the 1820’s.

James Ryder Randall
 is best
remembered for his poem Maryland, My
which became the war hymn of the Confederacy during the
Civil War.
Sir John Randall
was an English
physicist who pioneered the development of cavity magnetron, an
component of radar and later of microwave ovens.
Tony Randall, born Arthur Rosenberg, was
American actor best known for his role as Felix Unger in the TV
adaptation of The Odd Couple.
Ruth Rendell
been an English author of thrillers and psychological murder mysteries
with her
Chief Inspector Wexford creation.

Select Randalls Today

  • 26,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Gloucestershire)
  • 25,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 16,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)



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