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Charles Family History

Charles Surname Meaning

French Welsh English West Indian (mainly Haiti) and African (mainly Tanzania): from the French form of the ancient Germanic personal name Karl ‘man husband freeman’ which was Latinized as Carolus. In France the personal name was popular from an early date due to the fame of the Emperor Charlemagne (c. 742–814; Latin name Carolus Magnus i.e. Charles the Great). The Old French form Charles was briefly introduced to England by the Normans but was rare during the main period of surname formation. It was introduced more successfully to Scotland in the 16th century by the Stuarts who had strong ties with France and was brought by them to England in the 17th century. Its frequency as a Welsh surname is attributable to the late date of Welsh surname formation. Old English Ceorl ‘peasant’ is also found as a byname but the resulting Middle English form Charl with a patronymic in -s if it existed at all would have been absorbed by the French form introduced by the Normans. English variants pronounced with initial k- for the most part reflect the cognate Old Norse personal name Karl Karli. Compare Carl . English: in some cases possibly a habitational name from Charles (Devon) or a post-medieval variant of Cherrill with excrescent -s perhaps by false association with the personal name Charles. Cherrill is either a habitational name from Cherhill in Wilshire or a status name from Middle English cherl cheril charl chirl ‘churl bonded tenant serf; peasant’. Swedish: ornamental form of a Frenchified form of the Old Norse personal name Karl (see 1 above).

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, 2022


Similar surnames: Charley, Harle, Harley, Hailes, Charlet, Charleson, Carles, Charlier

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Where is the Charles family from?

You can see how Charles families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Charles family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Charles families were found in United Kingdom in 1891. In 1911 there were 454 Charles families living in Ontario. This was about 30% of all the recorded Charles's in Canada. Ontario had the highest population of Charles families in 1911.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Charles surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Charles ancestors do for a living?

In 1921, Farmer and Housekeeper were the top reported jobs for men and women in the Canada named Charles. 29% of Charles men worked as a Farmer and 15% of Charles women worked as a Housekeeper. Some less common occupations for Americans named Charles were Laborer and Operator. .

View Census Data for Charles | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations In 1921

  • Farmer
    29%
  • Hunter
    9%
  • Labourer
    9%
  • Laborer
    5%

Top Female Occupations In 1921

  • Housekeeper
    15%
  • Stenographer
    10%
  • Housewife
    10%
  • Operator
    10%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Charles family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 336,000 census records available for the last name Charles. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Charles census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

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Passenger Lists

There are 257,000 immigration records available for the last name Charles. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Canada, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

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Draft Cards

There are 83,000 military records available for the last name Charles. For the veterans among your Charles ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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What is the average Charles lifespan?

Between 1942 and 2004, in the United States, Charles life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1944, and highest in 1998. The average life expectancy for Charles in 1942 was 40, and 71 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Charles

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