Where does the last name Littell come from?

Every time I look it up all I get is the last name "Little". The name is not Little but "Littell". There is a difference. Does anyone know where it comes from?

Some sources say Scottish-English others say French. I'm lost.

2 Answers

  • Tina
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Surname: Littell

    This is one of the oldest of English surnames and is of Anglo-Saxon origin, from a nickname for a man of small stature. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "lytel", originally a diminutive of "lyt", meaning light and the Middle English "littel", meaning "small, slight, little". The nickname was also used as a distinguishing byname for the younger of two bearers of the same given name, as in the modern practice of using the term "junior" for the same purpose. In some cases the name may have been used to denote the opposite of its meaning, as in the surviving surname "Little John", often used of a "giant". One Lefstan Litle appeared in circa 1095, in Feudal Documents from the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds (Suffolk). John and Jane Little were early emigrants to the New World being recorded in the parish of Christchurch, Barbadoes, in 1678. Variants of the surname include Littell, Lytle and Lyttle. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Eadric Little, which was dated 972, in the "Records of Old English Bynames", Northamptonshire, during the reign of King Edgar, 959 - 975. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.


    Littell Name Meaning and History

    English: variant spelling of Little.


    Little Name Meaning and History

    1.English: nickname for a small man, or distinguishing epithet for the younger of two bearers of the same personal name, from Middle English littel, Old English l¯tel, originally a diminutive of l¯t (see Light 3).

    2.Irish: translation of Gaelic Ó Beagáin ‘descendant of Beagán’ (see Begin).

    3.Translation of French Petit and Lepetit; also used as an English form of names such as Jean-Petit ‘little John’.

    4.Translation of any of various other European name meaning ‘little’.


    Light Name Meaning and History

    1.nickname for a happy, cheerful person, from Middle English lyght, Old English leoht ‘light’ (not dark), ‘bright’, ‘cheerful’.

    2.nickname for someone who was busy and active, from Middle English lyght, Old English lioht ‘light’ (not heavy), ‘nimble’, ‘quick’. The two words leoht and lioht were originally distinct, but they were confused in English from an early period.

    3.nickname for a small person, from Middle English lite, Old English l¯t ‘little’, influenced by lyght as in 1 and 2.


    Petit Name Meaning and History

    French, Catalan, and English (mainly Leicestershire): from Old French or Catalan petit ‘small’, hence a nickname for a small person (or an ironic nickname for a big man), or for the younger of two bearers of the same personal name. This name was common among Catalan Jews. It is also established in Ireland.


    I’m sorry that you are confused but the reason you keep getting ‘Little” is because “Littell” is a spelling variant of the same name. It could be English, Irish or French in origin. This is why we recommend that people research their ancestors instead of their ancestors surnames in order to learn their origins because names can originate from more than one place.

    Source(s): Sources in text of answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    Census records indicate that in 1891 Littell families were living in Stirlingshire, Scotland, as well as Cumberland, Durham, Gloucestershire, and Essex, England. Thus, you'll need to trace your family back generation by generation to determine if your Littells were Scottish or English. Littell is a variant spelling of "Little".

    Source(s): Ancestry.com
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