Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Charles Name
France, Germany, England
Origins of Name:
The surname of Charles has multiple possible origins and spellings throughout the history of this surname. The first of these possible origins for the Charles surname is pre 5th Century Germanic origins, where the names Carl, Carlo, Charles, Carletti, De Carlo and Karlowicz are all deviations of this surname. They come from the names “Karl” or “Carl” which is translated to mean “man” and was Latinized at a later date to be pronounced and spelled as “Carolus.” This personal name eventually led to the Old French spelling of “Charles” was introduced to England during the Norman Conquest of 1066, but wasn’t a popular name until after the Stuart period, which commenced in 1603. In France, the surname of Charles was a popular name, because of Emperor Charlemagne, King of the Franks, which translates to “Charles the Great” and who ruled from the year 724 to the year 814. In Scotland, the surname of Charles was introduced by the Stuart Monarchs, in the 16th century, because of their strong ties with France. There is also a possibility that the surname of Charles is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and derives from the word “ceorl” which translates to mean farmer or bondsman.
More common variations are:
Charleus, Charlesi, Charlless, Charlies, Charless
The first known recorded spelling of the surname of Charles was Osbert Cherle, which was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Warwickshire, England, and recorded in 1193, under the reign of King Richard I, who was commonly referred to as “Richard the Lionheart” and who ruled from the year 1189 to the year 1199. In the year 1208, the personal name of “Carolus” was recorded in a charter called the “Curia Rolls” of the County Suffolk. Later, in the year 1221, Frethesant Cherl was recorded in the charters of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. In the country of England, those bearing the surname of Charles are found in the counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, and the city of London.
The first recorded spelling of the surname of Charles in Germany is recorded as one Rudolf Karle, who was recorded as a Klosterdiener, which meant that he was a monastery worker, and he was recorded in the town of St. Bastian in the year 1275.
Those who carry the surname of Charles are found in high concentrations in Aberdeenshire, Angus, Lanarkshire, Midlothian, and Fife Counties.
In Wales, those who bear the surname of Charles are found in the counties of Glamorgan and Carmarthenshire.
United States of America:
During the Great Migration, it was common for settlers to leave their home country in search of a better life, with religious freedom, better working conditions, and better living conditions. This time was called the Great Migration, or the European Migration. This happened during the 1600’s, and many of these settlers chose the United States of America, which at that time was referred to as the New World, or the Colonies. The first recorded person in the United States with the surname of Charles was one Mildreth Charles, who arrived in America in the year 1620. Those who settled in America with the surname of Charles can originated in the states of Louisiana, New York, and Pennsylvania. As the United States became more colonized, and people moved out West, those with the surname of Charles can be found in the states of Michigan, Alabama, North Carolina, California, Washington, Wisconsin, Indiana, Texas, Arkansas, Massachusetts.
United States 64, 903
Trinidad and Tobago 11,469
Robert Edwin “Bob” Charles (1936-2016) who was a politician in Australia, who was born in America, and was a Member of the Australian Parliament for La Trobe from 1990 to 2004
Ray Charles (1918-2015) who was born with the name Charles Raymond Offenburg, and was a musician, singer, songwriter, vocal arranger, and conductor; who was best known as the organizer and leader of the Ray Charles Singers
Miss Eleanor Charles (died in 1915) who was an American Second Class Passenger from New York, New York who died in the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in 1915
Ray Charles (1930-2004) who was born with the name Ray Charles Robinson, who pioneered the genre of soul music in America in the 1950’s era
E. W, Charles, who was a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention from South Carolina in 1860
David Charles, who was a Candidate for the U.S. Representative from Tennessee in the 6th District in the year 2000
D.K. Charles, who was an Alternate Delegate to the Republican National Convention from Michigan in the year 1888
Charles Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Charles blazon are the fusil, chief, bend and barry nebulee. The two main tinctures (colors) are ermine and gules.
Ermine is a very ancient pattern, and distinctive to observe. It was borne alone by John de Monfort, the Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany in the late 14th century It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found . The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.
Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines . Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).
The fusil is a shape rather like a lozenge but taller and narrower, hence fusily refers to a field of similar shapes arranged in a regulat pattern. It is though that the shape originally derived from that of a spindle of yarn. Wade believes that the symbol is of very great age and quotes an earlier writer, Morgan who ascribes it the meaning of “Negotiation”.
The chief is an area across the top of the field . It appears in many different forms and can itself be charged with other charges and ordinaries, , being treated almost as if it were a completely separate area. In its simplest form it can be clearly identified. Early examples include the award by Henry III of England to the knight Robert de MORTEYN BRETON of Ermine, a chief gules.
The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right . Indeed, so important is the bend that it was the subject of one of the earliest cases before the English Court of Chivalry; the famous case of 1390, Scrope vs Grosvenor had to decide which family were the rightful owners of Azure, a bend or (A blue shield, with yellow bend). . The bend is held in high honour and may signify “defence or protection” and often borne by those of high military rank .