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Origins of the Powell surname

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What does the name Powell mean?

Powell is a surname found often in England, but with very deep Welsh roots (it is still found often across Wales and the English border regions). Powell comes from the patronymic tradition of Wales, and refers to someone who is the son or descendant of Hywell or Howell. The Welsh prefix 'ap' was used to mean son of, and 'ap Hywell' quickly became 'Powell'.

Alternative variations of the name Powell

Powell, Powel, Pawell, Howell, Howel

I’ve managed to trace back to the mid-1500s! I can’t believe it! Utterly engrossing and I have uncovered some quite moving and heartbreaking stories attached to various ancestors. You don’t need any qualifications to start - just time patience, and some information.

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Where do most Powells live?

In 1921, most Powells lived in South West.

Census records trace your ancestors through each generation, so you can follow where your relatives lived through each decade.

Interesting facts about Powells

How common is your surname?

82nd most common surname in the UK

We have 394,000 records for the Powell surname. The oldest one dates back to 1539.

Who were Powells most likely to marry?




Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Powells.

What are the most common Powell first names?

  • William
  • John
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

Our birth record sets tell us the names of Powell family members

Common jobs for Powells

Men and women often performed different types of jobs, so these are displayed by gender to maintain their historical accuracy.

Common Female occupations for Powells in 1921




General Servant Domestic


Domestic Servant


General Servant


Common Male occupations for Powells in 1921
Coal Miner




Agricultural Labourer


General Labourer


Coal Miner Hewer


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