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About the study

It’s November 2015, I am just starting out, I am in record keeping planning and data assembly mode.

Why am I undertaking this One Name Study, it’s because my family tree goes relatively simply back to the 1750s but I keep on coming across other Worssell entries, which I know little or nothing about. They are appearing chronologically at times when I am 95% confident in my family tree, so the “if” and “how” they are related to me, has become my raison d'être.

Therefore if they are related to me it’s a long way back, so I am anticipating a "firmament of fragments" to evaluate and make sense of, if you have a fragment of Worssell information please contact me.

This study I hope will become a worldwide study of the Worssell name and variants.

Variant names

Worsell and Worsall are the main variants I have found that I am following.

The Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames has Woursell, Wurzal both of which for now I am not actively following but I will record them, if I find them 


Following the Guilds Guideline “A deviant is any other spelling recorded, including cases where the spelling occurs in official records, but only randomly and inconsistently. Deviants will also include spellings derived from enumeration, transcription and indexing errors, both contemporary and modern.

Worssell has lots of deviant spellings, the “s” when written in secretary hand can be read as “f” so read as “ff” or “sf” or “fs”, the first “s” is often misinterpret as an “a” or an “r”, the “e” also get misconstrued as an “a” and the “ll’s” vary, the “ss” can be read as “zz”. The name is also continually corrected “erroneously” by newspaper and other editors and even stone masons who have used two different spellings in one article or tombstone.


Name origin

The Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames, claims the name is Locative or Toponymic derived from Wercesel or the Domesday place name: Alius Wercesel/Wercheshala now called Low Worsall. Low Worsall and High Worsall are hamlets in the Hambleton district of North Yorkshire. The “Time Team” Series 5, Episode 8, March 1998 featured a Deserted medieval village close to High Worsall. Before the building of the Tees Barrage in 1995, High Worsall was the highest tidal point on the River Tees.

I need to see if I can prove this is the origin.

Historical occurrences of the name

In the last 200 years I have noted Worssell in Surrey, Sussex, Kent, London, Hampshire and Devon. Worssell is also found in South Africa, Canada, USA, and Australia.

Occupations vary from Agricultural Labourers; Farmers; Owner of Sunbeam Photo in Margate, Kent; Astronomer in South Africa; Geologist; Ironmonger; Builder; Undertaker; Carpenter; Removal man and furniture repository owner; and Garage & Petrol station Owner in Oxted, Surrey.

Name frequency

The name is not very common, Worssell and Worsell apart from miss recordings on records, seem to persistent variants.

Distribution of the name

A work in Progress


To date I have collected Births Deaths and Marriages for my family tree.

I will now record the other Worssell entries I keep stumbling over, if only to group them together, before I discover how or if they add to my family tree.


None as yet. I need to discover how this type of study works and how it would be of use.


None as yet