The Early Noels of Newfoundland

FlagSome early Newfoundland Noel's were Jerseymen, others came from the other Channel Islands, Wales and possibly Dorset and Devon. There was a concentration of Noel's in St. Martin parish in Jersey. The Early Newfoundland Noels fished (seasonal) or became planters (year round fish and farm). The early Jersey traders were operating in Europe independent of the English colonial authorities. One early Noel in Newfoundland appears to have been Clemence Noel arriving ca 1765 in Freshwater, Carbonear, Newfoundland. Roland Noel's Freshwater Site  will provide a letter that he wrote in 1774.

Early Freshwater names are John born about 1761, Clement who married Mary in 1788, John who married Frances in 1781, and James who was born to John & Charlotte in 1810.

A group of Noels was established on the southside of neighboring Harbour Grace. Oral history says that they are the descendants of 3 brothers that sailed and traded together. A settlers survey in 1804 indicated that these Noels had been in place for many years. They may be linked to the Freshwater Noels or have come from Jersey to Newfoundland via Poole, England as indicated in one account. The early southside names were Clement b ca 1760, Joseph b ca 1770, Clement II b ca  1782 John b. ca 1791, Richard b ca 1792

Some of the others recorded Noels are Thomas in St Johnís 1762 , John in Brigus 1786; Philip in Port de Grave 1786; Isaac Noel in Burnthead 1790.
The island communities were often isolated and pockets of family groups developed.

In Carbonear Clemence Noel (ca 1735) was starting a family group.

In Southside Harbour Grace Clement Noel of Jersey (1759) was a fisherman.

Joseph Noel (ca 1770) also arrived here from Jersey, went into the military and settled his family over the ridge in Bryantís Cove.

Another Southside Harbour Grace line of William Noel (ca 1801) of Wales develops as well.

Noels/Newells of Newfoundland Genealogy links and data including some Neils.


The name Noel appears in Jersey in the Assize Roll of 1309

The family group was concentrated primarily in the St Martin Parish of Jersey but spread  to the other parishes and Channel Islands. In the 1841 census Noel was the 10th most frequent name in Jersey and the most frequent name in St Martin. One might think this was a  a large number but at this time it amounted to 352 individuals in a population of 52,000.

Islandwiki reports the following early families:

Descendants of Julien Noel (1480- )

Descendants of Nicholas Noel (1684-)

Descendants of Edward Noel (1767-1849)

Selby Noel of Carbonear Newfoundland traced the line of Edmonde Noel (1655-)

Philippe (c 1740) and Rachel Noel had a son Josue (Joseph) Noel who emigrated

(possibly with his brothers) from Jersey around 1790 to Newfoundland and started a

family line there. At this time, Jersey and south England traders were heavily

involved in the fishing industry that was booming in Newfoundland and Labrador.

By     Pete Noel

In other records we find Joseph Noel in Harbor Grace, Newfoundland with wife Mary Sheppard and daughters Mary (born 1841) and Ann (born 1855).  Ref:  LDS FHC # 1761108.  Also Daniel,  Peter, Sr., and  Peter, Jr. are listed as fisherman at Grates Cove, Newfoundland,  1894-1897. In 1898  Arthur and  John Noel are also on the list.

My great grandparents were John Noel & Emma (nee Moore) Noel from Carbonear. John was born in 1839 & died January 22, 1908. He is buried in the United Church Cemetery at Goose Cove West. However the name on his tombstone is spelled Newell. Emma was born August 12, 1839 and died around 1912 - no tombstone.

John & Emma were married in Carbonear on November 15, 1865. It is believed they moved to the northern Peninsula in the spring of 1884. One son (twin) born to them did not make the trip and it is believed he died as a child, however little information is known. His name was Samuel Lezer Noel, born October 12, 1868 and was baptized (Methodist?) on June 3, 1871.

Goose Cove on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland was a little village of about 300 back in the 1950s/60s. It contained two little villages - Goose Cove East and Goose Cove West where the Noels livided. Today Goose Cove West is resettled but I have many Noel relatives in a nearby town. There are still people living in Goose Cove East. There were only about eleven families in Goose Cove West. The adults always pronounced Noel as Newell therefore that's how I pronounced it. When I came to Ontario back in 1969 my fellow coworkers didn't understand why I was pronouncing my surname Noel as Newell so I changed the pronounciation to Noel(French) and I still do today. Some years after I left Newfoundland the younger generation changed the pronounciation from Newell to Noel(English). When I visit the folks back in the area I change my pronounciation to Noel(English). I haven't corresponded with the Noels in Harbour Grace/Carbonear but I do believe they use the English pronounciation.

My name is Clayton Noel. I was born in Goose Cove West (now resettled), on the Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland. I am interested in searching for information on the early Noels, in particular, to make connections to Harbour Grace/Carbonear.

If you can add to this page contact:      DN