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Our 2,766 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

My NEEDLE research started in 1993 and was registered with the Guild in 2002. Like many other One-Name-Studies it grew out of a brickwall I encountered while researching my Needle ancestry.

Variant names

The Registered variants are Needler, Neelder, Nelder & Nadler (ref Reaney & Wilson)

Name origin

Needle is an occupational surname. Metonymic for Needler, a maker of needles.

Historical occurrences of the name

* In 1221 *Peter Le Nedler* appears in the Assize Rolls for Shropshire.
* There is a 1235 reference to *Richard Nedlere/Neldere* in the Cartulary of Oseney Abbey Oxford.
* In the Calendar of letter-books of the City of London:D - 1309-1314 there is a reference to *Robertus le Nadlere* on Tuesday the Feast of St Katherine (25 Nov), 3 Edward II (AD 1309). *Robert le Nadlere de Coventre* also appears in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls for Essex.
* A more recent occurrence of the name concerns the hanging of *Martha Needle* in Australia in 1894 after serially poisoning, over a number of years, most of her own family and one of her fiance's brothers.She was excecuted in Melbourne Gaol on the 22nd October 1894.

Name frequency

The ONS website shows that in September 2002 there were 535 Needles in England & Wales or 1 in every 101,869 people based on a population of 54,500,000 people. Needle was therefore the 10,780th most common surname.

Distribution of the name

In the 1881 census some 60% of the Needle population were living in Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Northamptonshire & Oxfordshire. The other main groups were living in Hampshire 17%, Middlesex/Surrey 8% and Lancashire 6.5%.


* All Needle census records from 1861 to 1901.
* Grants of Probate from 1885 to 1970 for England & Wales
* Numerous records from the GRO indexes & Parish Registers.