Charles Family History
Charles Name 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