I went back to the trunk and found a manuscript by my grandfather with the following information on English and Danish roots for the family:
"Various traditions and stories exist among different branches of the Skeel family as to their origin and nationality.Some have a tradition that two brothers of Scotch-Irish descfent sailed from North Ireland in the middle of the 17th century, that one was lost at sea, the other landing in Massachusetts and settling there.Another tradition says they came from Wales. Still another, Walter Skeels,of Essex, England, writes that 'Huntingdon appears to have been the first seat of the Skeels family and I have always presumed that they descended from a family of Danish vikings who sailed from the Wash as far inland as their boats would carry them and after settling, were called Skools, from their northern battle cry.I have no accurate information of this.I know the Cambridgeshire Skeels were firmly established in 1412, for there is an entry in the Parish Register under that date, recording an action taken by one Skeels against another over some land.'
Another Skeels, a professor of literature and language in a New York college, finds the name among the Danish clergy, in the navy and also in Danish literature.
John G. Skeels of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, who has made considerable study of the origin of the Skeel family says, 'I have verified our English and Danish origin, having learned of many Skeels, Skeele and Skeel (all one), families in England, also learned of their early English home at St. Ives, Chatteris and March, north of London.Have also learned of Skeel families in Copenhagen and there is a Baroness Skeels at the court of Copenhagen.' These, coupled with the fact that their home was near London where the Danes settled, would indicate that they were of early Danish origin.
E.R. Serocold Skeels, Solicitor and Commissioner of Oaths at London writes, 'As a family we have never delved very far into our history, being content with our representation in the very ancient Serocold family, which as you will see by Burke's landed Gentry, the Skeels of Chatteris date from 1100 and reference to the Doomsday Book proves the Skeels were established here when William the Conqueror came to England.Our land at Chatteris was bought by my great great grandfather Thomas Skeels, who was born in 1732 and married in 1760.In Burke's Extinct Baronetage (1838) p 171 it is stated that 'Elizabeth Drury, aunt of Sir Thomas Drury, Gent of Overstone, married Thomas Skeels,Gent of Bluntsham, Huntingshire.She was born in 1673 and may have been the mother of Henry Skeels who married Mary Dixon.'He further remarks, 'some years ago my sister danced at Tangier with Prince Charles of Denmark, now King of Norway, who claimed her for the dance saying that she had quite a danish type of face and he also told her that they had a Baroness Skeels at the Court of Copenhagen.' Thomas Skeels, Gent of Bluntsham, Huntingshire,(according to John G Skeels of Lake Geneva, Wis.), will no doubt prove to be a younger brother of John Skeels, the emigrant who came to America previous to 1670 and settled in Connecticut and from whom the Skeels line descends in America.Walter Skeels says further that ‘to connect up the links of the tree and prove the common origin of our branches, it would be necessary to search the parish registers in Huntingdon and Cambridge counties, the important registers being March, dating back to 1558; St. Ives, dating to 1566; Chatteris, dating to 1613; and Bluntsham to 1558.I am sure your ancestor, John , came from that district as I have never heard of a Skeel, Skeele or Skeels who did not trace back there.’
I hope this helps those who are interested in the Skeel lineage.Mention in the Doomsday book... wow! cheers from down under, Maggie Skeel