© Barry Foale 1980 - 2017

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FOALE Family History


Most of the standard works tend to be weak on regional variations, it is possible that at some time all the above may have been valid, i.e.: local to a particular region, but may have not survived. Without a doubt the main area from where the surviving family members appear to have originated is Devon, England. The earliest references I have found in Devon are Un Verdas de la FOLE, Smith Tarton Hundred 1243. Andrew FOEL, Tynmouth 1316, invitation to a Popes Coronation. Dr Guppy in 1890 suggests FOALE is a South Hams surname.

The name is also found in the Maramures North Western Romania Region and in Timis, Caras-Severin & Arad (historically called Banat) in Western Romania. In modern Romanian the name means 'bellows' so possibly ancestors made or operated bellows for the metal working industry, there is also a regional meaning of the word defining the belly/stomach area. There is a river in Romania, a tributary of the Dragan River, named Paraul lui Foale. A number of Romanian 'FOALE' families emigrated to the USA at the turn of the 19th century and their ancestors are there today.

Since 1900 there have been two forms of pronunciation for the name in current use, the most common FOAL ('as in baby horse' - which from my own experience and several others who have contacted me is the only way to make the name understood on the telephone) and FOE-LEA. (as in toe and sea or foe-are-lea). The most common spelling being FOALE, with a few spelt FOALLE or FOAL.

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I maintain details of the 8 main 18th Century FOALE family lines; (marriage dates and location quoted below) + other smaller lines.

FOALE / ACLAND - Dodbrooke Devon 1767

FOALE / BLATCH - Slapton Devon 1764

FOALE / CHOWN - Sherford Devon 1763

FOALE / LAVERS - Slapton Devon 1763

FOAL / BUTLAND - Totnes Devon 1783 (resident Dittisham also uses FOALE)

FOALL / LAVIS - Ashburton Devon 1785 (also uses FOALE)

FOAL / LEGASWICKE - West Charlton Devon 1758 (also uses FOALE)

FOALE / TOWSON - Bigbury Devon 1743 (resident East Allington - decendants also use FOALLE)

**FOAL / STARKE - Kingsbridge Devon 1768             (** Minor uncertainties)

**FOALE / JARMAN - Ilsington Devon 1814               

at present I have been unable to positively link the Devon lines but I am confident that they do all link, in Devon in the 14th / 16th centuries.