Is your Surname registered?

Our 2,869 members have registered
2,478 study surnames with us
and a further 6,287 variant names.

1,073 total views, 1 views today

3533

Shale

 

About the study

I became interested in the Shale surname, which is my paternal grandmother's surname, because of a surfeit of Shales in the Midlands. In an effort to untangle my own family line, I began collecting all instances of the name. And so a One Name Study grew.

Variant names

The registered surname is Shale, with variants Shail and Shayle. Also each is found with an added s, as in Shales, Shails, Shailes.

Name origin

Some surname dictionaries give the meaning for Shail as to shamble or stumble. Others, from ME Shale (shell) as in phrase 'valyed not a schale' not worth a shell.

I think, the name has more prosaic origins. Probably geographical, a heap of shale rocks.

History of the name

A few Shales of note:

Charles Shales (1670-1734) a goldsmith and banker. He married the daughter of a baronet and seemed to be a very litigious person.

Tom A Shales (1864-1953) a London based vaudeville and theatre comic actor.

His brother Edward Shales (1861-1926) was a London stage manager for over 20 years.

Tom Shales (1944- ) is the American Pullitzer prize-winning critic and newspaper writer.

Original Shales sired a breed of trotting horses.

Name frequency

The numbers and frequencies of Shale and variants name in England & Wales in 2002 were:

SHALE539=10719
SHALES221=19986
SHAIL186=22345
SHAILES261=17964
SHAYLE116=30189

Combining all the variants, the ONS gives a total of 1230.39 living people and 46 305 since the start of parish registers in the sixteenth century.

Distribution of the name

In Britain the surname spellings have localised into specific geographical areas. Shail/es are south west particularly Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset. Shale for the Midlands. Shales in the east especially Norfolk and Lincolnshire. London, of course, has all of them.

There is evidence of limited migration to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. In North America, there seem to be concentrations of Shails in Illinois, Utah, Missouri and Pennsylvania, and Shales in Ontario Canada.

Further research is ongoing.

Data

GRO Indexes from 1837-2004 have been recorded. Grants of probate since 1858 in England and Wales. Census records 1841-1911 England and Wales. USA census 1841-1940. Canadian census 1870-1921. IGI, various BMD certificates, earlier probates, and parish records.

Many are assembled into extended families.

I am always looking for more Shale information, wherever in the world they occur. And I will try to help provide more information where I can.

Contact