The origin of the surname Marwell will be discussed on this page. The German name Marwell can be found originating in the region of the principality of Schaumburg-Lippe (nowadays Schaumburg, district of Lower Saxony).

Marwell Name – is Marwell the correct spelling?

There are a lot of names around, which are quite similar to the name Marwell. Similar names include:

  • Marwel (probably a misspelling)
  • Maxwell (common surname)
  • Marwedel and Marwede (both villages near Celle, Germany, and surnames).
  • Marvel (the comic books, yay!)

So, which one is the correct (i.e. most original?) spelling? I honestly don’t know and this is something I didn’t find out yet. At least the church records show Wilhelm Marwell, born probably in the 1730 or 1740s. Although he married a wife from Schlüsselburg near Petershagen, I sadly did not find any records of neither him or his wife.

On the other hand, there is the family of his son with his second wife, all named Marwedel. Either the Pastor misheard or misspelled his name, or he was the one who wrote it down correctly (and the Pastor of Stadthagen misspelled it). It is whard to say which version is correct.

Etymology of the name Marwell

Luckily, both spellings Marwell and Marwedel are very similar, which suggests that they are in fact originated from the same origin. I’d like to present three common explanations where the surname Marwell originates. The sciences of finding name origins is called Onomastics.

Marwede – the village name from the woods

The name Marwell or Marwede(l) may be composed of two parts in the Middle High German language:

  • Mar
    meaning »Meier« (German), translated to milk farmer or pawn in english.
  • wede(l)
    This word actually can be translated to: »ford through the swamp lands« or »by/beneath the woods«.

A common conclusion is that the name was carried by the farmers living near the woods or near swamp lands. This explanation of the word part origins and the conclusion is taken from a thread in the German Genealogy Forums where a user cites from Hans Bahlows Dictionary of German Surnames.

Huguenot origins

My research goes back to 1730s, so it is possible that the name Marwell came to Germany by the Exodus of Huguenots from France. Wikipedia says [1] about this event:

Around 1685, Huguenot refugees found a safe haven in the Lutheran and Reformed states in Germany and Scandinavia[…].

While it may be possible, there is a list of names (PDF) which came to Germany. The list reads like this:

  • “MARVIEUX”,1
  • “de MARVILLE”,2
  • “MARVILLE”,19
  • “MARWEDE”,3

I sent an enquiry to the German Huegenot Society. Their answer was:

  • “MARVEJOLS”,1 = 1686 Schaffhausen Schiffsliste
  • “MARVIEUX”,1 = refugies aus pay de Vaud
  • “de MARVILLE”,2 = Familie in Kassel
  • “MARVILLE”,19= Familie aus Metz die nach Berlin einwanderte.
  • “MARWEDE”,3 = Berlin und Metz

So there is no connection to the Region of Schaumburg, Lower Saxony or similar regions where huguenot refugees went (like Bückeburg, Schaumburg-Lippe; Dörverden, Celle; etc.). Thus I suspect that our family did not originate from a huguenot refugee.

English name Marwell

The name Marwell did exist in England since the middle of the 16th century. For example there is a Marwell Hall (PDF) cited from Marwell Zoo’s history slides, located in Hamsphire. Marwell Hall was built about 1350, so it is still possible that our names originate from England. Although I can’t really explain why a prosperous person’s family from England would move to Germany, living as farmers. Thus, I haven’t looked in this theory deeper yet.

Other theories

Haven’t found too many yet, along no noteworthy. If you have a good theory or do know anything I don’t, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Coat of Arms

There is no coat of arms known to the Marwell family. Probably because all family members have been farmers or at best craftsman since the known origins of the name. This means, there will probably no coat of arms of the Marwell family ever be found.

Referenced Sources: