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2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

The Wigzell One-Name study started more or less by accident about 30 years ago. I started out with the intention of researching my own ancestry, but found it was fairly easy to record every reference to 'Wigzell' as I searched. It also made practical sense as information I needed later had already been noted.

Over the last ten years or so I have tried to gather all the notes and records together whether they relate directly to my own family or not, and this collection is basically the Wigzell One Name study.

Variant names

The only spelling which I would consider to be a variant is 'Wigsell'. It lasted for several generations, mostly in Sussex, and Surrey, as a distinct variation. There have been numerous spelling variations over the years, but currently the name is almost universally spelt as Wigzell

Name origin

The origin of the Wigzell/Wigsell surname, according to the earliest published works on surname origins, (upon which all more recent publications seem to be based), states that:

'the name means 'belonging to Wigsell or Wigsale'.

The only place of that name is in Sussex, within the parish of Salehurst, now recorded as 'Wigsell'. The location originally came into being from its use as a forest grazing area, used by herdsmen, for the fattening of their swine, and or sheep. The Anglo Saxon word 'gisella' means 'herdsmens huts', forming the second syllable. The first syllable most likely a patronymic or a corruption of a name. Hence Wigs-gesella, some of the very earliest references to the name are Wiggesel, Wiggesell, Wiggeshulle, Wiggeselle, Wikeshulle, Wygeselle, Wigershel.

Historical occurrences of the name

A few noteable Wigzell's Eustace Wigzell (1818 - 1899) with his partner Mr. Pollitt produced many fine Stationary Steam Engines

Name frequency

From the index of the UK 1881 census produced by The Church of Latter Day Saints, there were 130 Wigzells, and from the index of the 1901 census, at The National Archives, the number was 170.

For a more recent count the Office of National Statistics database of names gives a count in September 2002 of 231, giving it the the ranking of 19,436.

Distribution of the name

Today apart from the U.K., the name is found in Australia, New Zealand, U.S.A., but all can be traced back to Kent and Sussex. In 1881 of the 130 references over 110 were born in south east England.


Entries for births, marriages, and deaths, from the General Register Offices for England & Wales (since 1837) and Scotland (since 1855) have been recorded. Some of this data can be searched on the Guild web site

Probate records soon to be added are:

  • 1858 to 1960 all England & Wales
  • Pre 1858 all probate records covering Kent, East Sussex, and London.