To those posting here:
The name GAVEL is not very common in Canada or the USA.
In Canada's phone books, there are only 182 of them altogether. The interesting thing is that 97 of those (almost 55%) are in NOVA SCOTIA on Canada's Atlantic coast. They are especially found in the southern part of NS, nearest to the USA (esp. Yarmouth County).
Ontario and British Columbia each have 22. Alberta is next with 22. Saskatchewan has 10 with this spelling. By the way, in the western provinces there are also GABEL and other spellings.
New Brunswick, next to Nova Scotia, has 7 GAVEL surnames. There are really none anywhere else.
Looking at the USA (with almost 9 TIMES the population of Canada), it is curious that there are only 188 GAVEL phone listings (only 6 more than in Canada). Of these, almost 60% are found in 6 states: Mass 26, Florida 18, Pennsylvania and California 17 each, New York and Ohio, each with 14. I strongly suspect therefore that the GAVEL spelling originated (or at least was changed to that) either in Nova Scotia or in Mass, NY, or PA, and then the folks did their migrating to the other states. Florida has some because everybody is attracted there. California for the same reason, but also because ships might have sailed from the East Coast to places like L.A. or San Francisco in the 1800s.
Linguistically, some believe that GAVEL is a changed spelling of the German GABEL "gah-bull" (which may also have become GABLE) or the Polish GAWEL "gah-vull" (where 'w' is pronounced like 'v') and some think it might have started off long ago more like GOEBEL or GOBLE (GÖBEL or GÖEBBEL in German). The B and W often became V over time; vowel sounds like 'oe' (Ö) in German became 'ah' or long 'a' in English.
Historically, it is quite likely that GAVEL was of German or perhaps Dutch origin. There were many German immigrants, esp. to Nova Scotia as a British colony in the period 1740-1800. DUring and after the French and Indian Wars of the 1750s, Some were given land grants for farming by England in an attempt to balance the large number of French and Catholic people who had been there since 1600. More German military recruits arrived to fight against the Americans in 1776-1783 (paid for by King George III of England), then they stayed (in both USA and Canada) because there was no real incentive to return home (no more land and drought or famine). Many Germanic names were changed in major ways by officials who could not spell the original ones or did not understand the accents of the speakers.
In NS where I am, you might want to check out the following:
GOVT OF NS (VITAL STATISTICS) - http://www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/http://www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/ - births, marriages, deaths, etc.
- http://www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/vstat/history.stmhttp://www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/vstat/history.stm - All records filed after 1908 are held on file in the Vital Statistics office. Civil registrations of birth and deaths in Nova Scotia began (again) on October 1, 1908 and continue to the present day. As well, delayed registrations of births for some individuals born in the province between 1876 and 1908 were filed after 1908. Civil registrations of birth and deaths in Nova Scotia between 1864 and 1876 are held at: The Public Archives of Nova Scotia (6016 University Avenue, Halifax, NS, B3H 1W4).
Marriage records filed at Vital Statistics began from 1906 to 1918 depending on the county where the event occurred. Marriage records prior to these years have been transferred to the Public Archives of Nova Scotia.
- http://www.nsarm.ednet.ns.ca/http://www.nsarm.ednet.ns.ca/ - Public Archives of Nova Scotia - Tel: (902) 424-6060 FAX: (902) 424-0628 - **NOTE: AS OF 2001, THEIR ACTUAL RECORDS WERE NOT YET AVAILABLE ON-LINE, so you must visit in person, employ researchers, or use "snail mail" if you live far away.
- http://nsgna.cdnet.ns.ca/index.htmlhttp://nsgna.cdnet.ns.ca/index.html - or - http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Recreation/GANS/index.htmhttp://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Recreation/GANS/index.htm - Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia (GANS) - Leland Harvie, newsletter editor - P.O. BOX 41, Halifax, N.S. Canada B3J 2T3 - 902-443-9107, Halifax - 1,500 members - the main "chebucto" menu was changed after April 1999 to - http://www.rootsweb.com/~canns/http://www.rootsweb.com/~canns/ - with LINKS to many interesting sites.
"Genealogical Research in Nova Scotia" by Terrance Punch - ISBN 1-55109-235-2 - Terry is a professionally accredited Canadian genealogist who specializes in immigration from Ireland, Germany and Montbéliard (Huguenot Protestants French-Swiss border area). Terry also investigates the origins of surnames. He hosts a program on CBC (public radio) every 4 weeks (usually Mondays) and will answer questions by E-Mail to - firstname.lastname@example.org - or check out the Website at - http://www.halifax.cbc.cahttp://www.halifax.cbc.ca -
- http://www.library.ns.ca/regionals/http://www.library.ns.ca/regionals/ - NS Regional Libraries (for your enquiries, try the ones marked * first):
_ Annapolis Valley Regional Library
_ Cape Breton Regional Library
_ Colchester-East Hants Regional Library
_ Cumberland Regional Library
_ Eastern Counties Regional Library
_ Halifax Regional Library
_ Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library
* South Shore Regional Library
* Western Counties Regional Library
- http://www.CyndisList.com/novascot.htmhttp://www.CyndisList.com/novascot.htm - Cyndi's List for Nova Scotia - a great place to get started
- http://www.stillman.org/ns.htmhttp://www.stillman.org/ns.htm - has good basic NS map
- http://nsgna.cdnet.ns.ca/index.htmlhttp://nsgna.cdnet.ns.ca/index.html - Nova Scotia Genealogy Network Association
A great Canadian genealogy site is:
- http://www.king.igs.net/~bdmlhm/cangenealogy.htmlhttp://www.king.igs.net/~bdmlhm/cangenealogy.html -
NOVA SCOTIA Genweb Site - http://www.rootsweb.com/~canns/http://www.rootsweb.com/~canns/ -
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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) [CANADA] - Halifax Mission,
Family History Centre & Genealogical Library,
44 Cumberland Drive,
Dartmouth, NS B2V 2C7
Tel: (902) 462-0628
**NOTE: The Mormons do not do a lot of verifying of the records they publish. Some people find they are about 50% accurate.
Main Office: Tel: (902) 468-2718, 202 Brownlow Avenue, Dartmouth, NSB3B 1T5
Cape Sable Historical Society - (2402 Hwy #3) Barrington, Shelburne Co, NSB0W 1E0 - TEL: 902-637-2185 - Marjory Weeks (3521 Hwy #3, Barrington Passage) 902-637-2525
Ragged Islands Historical Society, Box 437, Lockeport, NS B0T 1L0 - Tel: 902-656-2352 - a non-profit organization with a fair bit of information on the Benham surname, among others.
Archelaus Smith Museum - Centreville, Shelburne Co, NSB0P 1J0 - TEL: 902-745-3361 - Margaret Messenger: (2388 Main St) Box 190, Clark's Harbour, Shelburne Co, NSBOW 1POTEL: 902-745-2411
Yarmouth County NS (created by England in 1836 from Shelburne County) - http://www.rootsweb.com/~nsyarmou/index.htmhttp://www.rootsweb.com/~nsyarmou/index.htm - is an interesting mix of early French Acadian history (from Champlain in 1605 onward) and New England Planters (from late 1750's) and later United Empire Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution (1776 to 1783). Also home base for the greatest number of sailing ships in the world in the mid-1800's. Many large elaborate homes in Queen Anne Revival and Gothic Revival styles from mid-1800's. Home of best museum and archives in NS outside Halifax Capital Region. Nearest location by ferry to USA.
Website - http://ycn.library.ns.ca/museum/yarcomus.htmhttp://ycn.library.ns.ca/museum/yarcomus.htm - and E-Mail - email@example.com - Yarmouth County Museum and Archives, 22 Collins Street, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, CANADAB5A 3C8 - Tel: (902) 742-5539 Fax: (902) 749-1120 - they have just completed a major physical expansion and will be ready in 2001 to assist historians and genealogists much more effectively than ever before. Outside of the Provincial Archives of NS in Halifax, this museum has arguably the best collection of archival records in Nova Scotia.
Brown, George Stayley "Yarmouth, Nova Scotia: A Sequel to Rev. John Roy Campbell's "History of the County of Yarmouth, 1873", [ Brown is reprint of Campbell's which was published Boston: Rand Avery Co., 1888 ] - excellent for early settlers in Southern NS; needs updates, based on modern computerized info sources - also available for reference at: Argyle Municipality Historical & Genealogical Society, Tusket, NS.
- http://www.tusket.comhttp://www.tusket.com - The Argyle Historical Society at E-Mail - firstname.lastname@example.org - can do a family search for CAN$25ºº. Peter Crowell who was from Kemptville, Yarmouth Co, NS, is in charge of The Argyle Municipal Historical & Genealogical Society located at Tusket, Yarmouth Co, NS. Tel: 902-648-2493, FAX: 902-648-0211.
Lunenburg County NS - http://www.rootsweb.com/~canns/lunenburg/index.htmlhttp://www.rootsweb.com/~canns/lunenburg/index.html - has lots of info on the GERMAN settlers in NS starting 1750. First French settlements date from ca 1650. A unique part of NS with Lunenburg (town) designated a United Nations Historic Site, home of wooden sailing ships including NS symbol "Bluenose" and replica of "HMS Bounty" for Hollywood movie in 1962. Lahave River one of nicest in NS. Chester and Mahone Bay among most picturesque communities anywhere in NS. Home of many film shoots in recent years because of wonderful scenic views out to sea.
Queens County NS - http://www.rootsweb.com/~canns/queens/index.htmlhttp://www.rootsweb.com/~canns/queens/index.html - (separated in 1762 from Lunenburg County and including modern Shelburne and Yarmouth Counties) - first explored and settled in 1630s by early French adventurers who constructed a number of fortifications here - the shire town Liverpool dates from settlement by Planters from New England in 1754, and again by United Empire Loyalists in 1783/4. Excellent museum, historical records, and well-kept old local cemeteries. See more LINKS under - http://www.regionofqueens.com/http://www.regionofqueens.com/ - or try Mary Mouzar's Queens County Times website (opened in 2000) at - http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/mouzar/queenscountytimeshttp://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/mouzar/queenscountytimes -
Shelburne County NS (created 1784 from Queens County, and included modern Yarmouth County) - http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Flats/3699/genindex.htmlhttp://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Flats/3699/genindex.html - main landing site for up to 20,000 United Empire Loyalists (including 1,500-3,000 freed black Loyalists) in 1783/4. It was the FOURTH LARGEST SETTLEMENT IN NORTH AMERICA (after NYC, Boston, and Philadelphia) during these early years.
Shelburne County Genealogical Society - 168 Water Street, Shelburne, NSB0T 1W0 - TEL: 902-875-4299FAX: 902-875-3267 - E-Mail: - email@example.com - Website - http://nsgna.ednet.ns.ca/shelburnehttp://nsgna.ednet.ns.ca/shelburne - excellent source of information about early settlement in Shelburne County, starting in 1750's around Barrington area and including the 1783/4 landing of the United Empire Loyalists from the (new) USA. Many family names have direct lineage from MAYFLOWER families. Very complete books of all persons buried in cemeteries throughout the county. Individual membership $15/year, Family rate $20/year, or institution/organization rate $15/year entitles you to 4 newsletters per year. NOTE: American subscribers - please pay above in US$ amounts, to cover postage and shipping.
Annapolis County NS, site of the oldest French settlement in North America (founded by Champlain in 1604) and the first British capital at Annapolis Royal 1710-1749 -
http://www.rootsweb.com/~nsannapo/http://www.rootsweb.com/~nsannapo/ - all early French (and much English) history in NS started here.
Port Royal had been taken twice by men from New England: under Major Robert Sedgwick in August of 1654 and under Sir William Phips in May of 1690: in each case it had been restored to France by treaty. The taking of Port Royal in 1710 is particularly important, for, with its capture, came England's claims to all of Acadia. The Oct 6, 1710 capture of Port Royal, Nova Scotia by the English under General Francis Nicholson and Sir Charles Hobby can be found in: Litchfield (MA) Vital Records, 1742 power of attorney for lands to son Woodruff (vol. 4, p. 1R). For explanation of events see Book #1: Acadia. Part 2, "The English Takeover: 1690-1712" Chapter 9, "The Taking of Port Royal (1710)." or at website - http://www.blupete.com/Hist/NovaScotiaBk1/Part2/Ch09.htmhttp://www.blupete.com/Hist/NovaScotiaBk1/Part2/Ch09.htm - 2,000 soldiers from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island included the regular English army, while the rest were colonial militia.
J. Furber Marshall NSHQ, Volume 7, "A Banks Family of Nova Scotia" (Annapolis & Digby County)
"History of County of Annapolis, Nova Scotia," by W.A. Gaines, pub. 1957 - re Andrew Gaines and his three sons
Calnek, W. A. "History of the County of Annapolis", Belleville, ON: Mika Publishing Company, 1980 [ originally published Toronto: William Briggs, 1897 ]. According to Calnek, Adam Hawkesworth, b. ca 1740 in England, was the first of the name in Nova Scotia. He md. July 1763 Elizabeth Wedgewood. They came to Nova Scotia with the Yorkshire settlers in 1774. When he bought land "on Wilmott Mountain" from the estate of Dr. Pemberton in 1791, he was described as "of Annapolis Royal." According to the records inscribed in the Bible which he brought with him from England (Geneva Version), which is now in the library of the Fort Museum at Annapolis Royal, he died on January 8, 1805, and Elizabeth, his widow survived until October 6, 1825.
"Family Genealogies for Yorkshire Families who settled in Annapolis County" are available at the O'Dell Museum for the following surnames: Bath, Clark, Gilliatt, Halliday, Hawkesworth, Hudson, Jacques, Jefferson, Mills, Milner, Oliver, Robinson - through the Historic Restoration Society, 158 St George Street, Annapolis Royal, NS,B0S 1A0 (tel: 902-532-7754).
Digby County NS - http://www.rootsweb.com/~canwgw/ns/digby/http://www.rootsweb.com/~canwgw/ns/digby/ - has mixture of early French and English settlements. District of Clare is Acadian French and "longest main street in the world" (40 miles/65 km), Université Sainte-Anne holds many archival records of French settlement back to early 1700's. New England Planters (1756 & 1760's) and United Empire Loyalists (1776-1784) brought in English-speaking settlers.
The fact that GAVEL in the USA is "clustered" in MA, NY and PA (esp. Pittsburgh area) tells me there may have been large group migrations to these places. Perhaps there are some ships records at Boston, NYC, or Philadelphia that can shed more light on this.
I am NOT an expert on this surname. Is there anyone posting here who can tell us more about GAVEL, GABEL, GÖBEL, etc. and how they all relate to each other ?