Powell's of South Australia

Surname Index Page Powell Index Page A Powell Family of Southwark, Co Surrey & thence South Australia Other Powell's of South Australia A Powell Family of Wales & thence Canada Sources

This project is an attempt to chart the descendants of James Powell & Penelope Dyer of London, England. James first appears in 1783 in Westminster, London, where he married Penelope, from Shoreditch, London. James spent the next few years living in London before moving south of the Thames and settling in what is today Southwark, London. James' three known surviving sons (he had no known daughters) remained in the Lambeth-Southwark district. The oldest of the three emigrated to Australia in 1852, settling first on the Ballarat goldfields in Victoria (just in time for the Eureka Rebellion!) and then moving to Melbourne. The middle son died childless. The third surviving son, George, who appears to have remained in the Southwark-Lambeth district his whole life, had two known sons, both of whom emigrated to Australia in the late 1850s, one settling in Victoria and the other in South Australia. The chart linked above labelled "James Powell: London & Australia" charts this family. In addition to charting the descendants of James, I have also undertaken a one-name study on the Powell's of South Australia. The results of this research can be found in the chart, linked above, "Other Powell's of South Australia". An unrelated Powell family, "A Powell Family of Wales & Canada", is being hosted for a friend. The "Sources" page is a master list of all sources for the various charts listed above. If you are a descendent of James & Penelope (or have researched this family), please email me if you wish to share information. If you are connected to an unrelated Powell family with South Australian connections and would like to submit corrections, additions or a previously unlisted family, please email me.
Printing instructions: This document contains formatting which is incompatible with printing. To print use a text editor (eg: notepad) to remove all occurrences of "<fieldset>" and "</fieldset>" & then print, or email for a printable pdf. Please note that most of these files are quite large. The South Australian Powell's chart is about 600K and with graphics, the James Powell chart is almost 9M. Please be patient while the files download!
It is widely held that the surname Powell is of Welsh origin. This is, however, a fallacy. Many Powell's do have a Welsh origin however just as many, if not more, originate elsewhere. The Welsh 'Powell' is derived from the Welsh forename 'Hywel' (or Hoel). In Welsh names the presence of 'Ap' corresponds with the Scottish 'Mac', both meaning 'son of'. The son of Hywel would then be referred to as  'ap-Hywel' or 'ap-Howell'. Hywel was a popular Welsh male forename, named after a famous 10th Century Welsh King. Over the centuries Ap-Howell gradually contracted into 'Powell'. Early references to a Welsh Powell include Griffith Powel or Powell (1561-1620), Principal of Jesus College, Oxford, who was described as "third sonne of John ap Hywel ap John. Roger ap Howell, alias Powell, was named in a lawsuit in 1563. Note that the Welsh lagged behind the English in adopting formal surnames. The second possible origin of the surname is English and derives from the given name Paul. Paul was a very uncommon forename in England in the Middle Ages. More commonly it appeared as a surname, usually a variation of Pawle. The Records for London (1279) name a certain John as both 'Powel' and 'Paul'. In Scotland the surname Paul had been long established. There are many other examples of 'Powel' and 'Powell' from the 14th & 15th Centuries in the eastern English counties which were derived from Pawle. Variations on the name Pawle included Powell, Powle, Poul, Pole, Polle, Poole and Pulle. Some English occurrences of the name were Flemish in origin, especially in the eastern counties (and Scotland) - Powell was a not uncommon surname in Flanders in the Middle Ages. From the 15th to the 18th centuries there were many waves of immigrants to England from Flanders. Dutch Powell's living in England can be dated back to at least 1565 with John Powell, a Dutch merchant, who had settled in Norwich. For Powell families with an Irish origin, the surname 'Powell' was adopted as an alternative name when native Irish names were prohibited. The original name would have Gilfoyle (Giolla Phoil), 'servant of St. Paul' and 'Powell' was seen as an acceptable substitute. The name can also have been derived from locations, such as Powhill in Co Cumberland. It is also possible that families living near pools could have acquired the name accordingly. An early spelling for 'pools' was 'Powl' ('here be ye bottomlesse powees', 1301). Examples of this include Jordan de Powella (1184), Ralph atte Powel (1288) and John de Powel (1339). From this it is clear that apart from those cases where Powell is clearly of Welsh origin, it is impossible to determine the origin of a particular Powell family, although DNA testing may help determine whether a particular family was of Welsh, Irish, Scottish, Dutch or English origin. The Powell DNA project has (as of October 2010) 214 members, most of whom do not trace ancestry back to the UK. Of those who do, 3 trace back to locations in Ireland, 13 to locations in Scotland and 12 to locations in England (with several more to "UK", no specific location). At this stage this is probably too small a dataset to be statistically meaningful to match possible origins.[Surname Database, Baden-Powell Family History, Powell - Desmond Holden]

Reproduction for the purpose of financial gain is prohibited. Redistribution of this material, in part or in its entirety, to a genealogical website/service which resells or charges for access is strictly prohibited - the material on this page is intended to be available free of charge and with unrestricted access. The data contained herein is for the most part either public domain or copyright of various statutory authorities, unless specified otherwise in the sources, and cannot be copyrighted by a third party. I make no claim regarding the accuracy of this chart; the original sources are not free from error and transcriptions may contain errors. (c) David Powell, <roots-boots@hotmail.com>, http://roots-boots.net/ft/powell.html.

Other Researchers

People who have an interest in the Powell family, not necessarily related to my Powells. This is not a comprehensive list, just a listing of those whom I have been in contact with. Refer to the Sources section for additional contacts. Note that some of these web & email addresses may no longer be valid (please let me know if you find any).