Raphael as an English surname?

+4 votes
72 views
While researching my Devon line I've come across a 'Rafael' ancestor. The surname struck me as quite odd for Devon, and I did some further research. My ancestor is Joan Rafael born 1748 in Hemyock, and she seems to be part of a family spread around East and Mid Devon. The surname is written alternately as Rafael, Raphael, Raphel, Raffle etc. It's quite a rare surname and is most frequent among immigrants to the UK, but seems the wrong time and place for this to be the case. Has anyone come across this being used as an English surname?
asked in Genealogy Help by Samuel Fawcett G2G Crew (780 points)

3 Answers

+4 votes
Bear in mind that Devon is only a short sea trip from France and Spain, so immigration really isn't unlikely. There were both Jews and Huguenots in 18th century Devon, for example. Here's an interesting article: https://www.jewishgen.org/jcr-uk/susser/thesis/thesischaptertwopartone.htm
answered by Deborah Pate G2G6 Mach 2 (24.3k points)
Thanks for answering, Deborah.

I should have added that the earliest evidence of the Rafaels of Mid-Devon I've found is a will in 1620. I've not made a direct link to my ancestor but from this date through to the late 1700s they all use the same naming patterns and live in the same 4 closely linked towns. Makes me think it's a bit too early for Jewish immigration but I hadn't really considered the Huguenot angle. Very interesting, thanks again!
+2 votes
Jews took a lot of Latin Biblical surnames around the 17th century. It might be coming from there.
answered by Kat Venegas Jacobus G2G6 (7.3k points)
Interesting! Thank you.
+2 votes
Out of interest there were 124 in England, 8 in Scotland and 1 in Wales in 1851. That is just Raphael and Rafael.
answered by anonymous G2G6 Pilot (252k points)
That's interesting. Thank you. Can't have many at all in the 1600s then.

Related questions

+6 votes
4 answers
119 views asked Jan 29, 2018 in Genealogy Help by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (312k points)
+3 votes
2 answers
111 views asked Feb 21 in The Tree House by Tim Perry G2G6 Mach 2 (27.5k points)
+1 vote
4 answers
+1 vote
1 answer
56 views asked Nov 23, 2018 in The Tree House by Matthew Pavey G2G Rookie (190 points)
+2 votes
1 answer

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright

...