Pearsall Family Shield



The Pearsall Family


Members History Genealogy






Pearsall Family DNA Surname Project


Number of Pearsalls By Location


Maps by Family Surname


The History of the Parshall Family from the Conquest of England by William of Normandy, A.D. 1066 to the Close of the 19th Century (1903)


The Parshall Family A.D. 870-1913 (1915)


History and Genealogy of the Pearsall Family in England and America (1928)




Genetic genealogy primer













The Pearsall Family DNA – Surname Project





The primary objective of this project is to find and relate near and distant cousins that share a common heritage. This project has less to do with the name “Pearsall” since there are so many variations to the surname, and no surname has lesser or greater rights to our common history; but rather more importance is given to the genealogical aspects (e.g. employing science to trace our collective heritage back some two thousand years).

Male members of the family have inherited an ancient heirloom: a Y-chromosome that traces its roots to the kings of Sweden some 2,000 years ago. The male Y-chromosome is unlike other types of DNA in that it is non-recombining – thus it does not change except by the odd chance of a mutation every several hundred years.

Depicted in blue below, the Y-chromosome is inherited along the paternal line (father-to-son) without recombining with any other chromosomes. In contrast, other chromosomes shown in gray below recombine, thus genetic markers can be inherited from many ancestors – making these chromosomes less useful for genealogical purposes. Mitochondria DNA (mtDNA) shown in pink below is a non-sex-linked cellular DNA strand that is passed from mothers to their offspring (both male and female). Because mtDNA is passed exclusively from the maternal line, it can be used to trace maternal relationships. This project relies on Y-DNA testing; women can participate by proxy (i.e. having a father, brother, or male cousin from the father’s side participate).



Figure from the Genographic Project


46 chromosomes illustrated below (23-pairs).  22-pairs are autosomes, and the last pair is the sex chromosomes (e.g. “X” and “Y”).  Besides these 46 chromosomes for human DNA, mitochondria DNA (mtDNA) is also found in every cell and acts as a “power house” for cellular functions.



The left photo below shows the relative size of the Y-chromosome with an X-chromosome. Y-chromosome genes are identified near different STR-markers in the diagram on the right.








The Pearsall family is a relatively small family with about five thousand members sharing the same surname worldwide. Including related surnames, there maybe about fifteen thousand members. Though relatively small in number, the Pearsall family, which includes related surnames, has a well-documented history that stretches back about two millennia. The family is thought to originate in present-day Sweden about two thousand years ago (prior to the use of the surname Pearsall). Over centuries, individuals and branches of the family migrated from Sweden to Norway, France, England, America, and elsewhere. The etymology of our surname dates back to ~1200 A.D. in England; from there the surname developed into many other variants due to geographical, political, and linguistic separation over time.

Even though descendants of a common ancestor may not share the same surname – they are by definition sharing the same patrilineal (paternal) blood-line and are related to the same family.

This project can be divided into several parts:


1)  Geographic study (to link lost branches in Sweden, Norway, France, England, and elsewhere),

2)  Surnames study (to link the various spellings of different Pearsall-related surnames), and

3)  Genetic genealogy study (to link individual members back to the family whose deep roots go back to Sweden).




The family is believed to have settled in Gamla Uppsala, Sweden (“gamla” means “old” in Swedish) for about 20 generations (from ~200 B.C. to ~700 A.D.).  Genealogy traces our family to a Scandinavian king named Dyggve (~200 A.D.) in Gamla Uppsala. Dyggve was the twelfth generation in the House of Yngling. Some consider Dyggve to be a mythical king, whereas others consider him a real king. The House of Yngling are descendants of Odin (third generation). There is some uncertainty as where to draw the line between myth and history. Some believe the first probable king to be Egil (nineteenth generation, ~500 A.D.) due to several contemporary sources. Scandinavian sagas indicate that prior to locating to Gamla Uppsala, Odin migrated his people from somewhere in the central region of the Eurasian continent or perhaps the Caucasus region.


Artistic images of Odin “the wise,” also known as “the wanderer”




Burial Mounds at Gamla Uppsala, home for 25-generations:






Photos above taken on trip in 1998


Some fourteen generations after Dyggve (~700 A.D.), Olaf the Treefeller left Gamla Uppsala for Vanland (thought to be a heavily forested area around the present-day Swedish-Norwegian border). His descendants migrated to present-day Norway, and settled there for seven generations.

Rognvald, Earl of Møre og Romsdal (~800 A.D.) was a famous Scandinavian chieftain. He lived on the island of Giske, near present-day Ålesund (pronounced with a long-ō, “Ō-la-sund,” and spelled “Aalesund” if “Å” is not available). Rognvald’s son, the famous Viking Rollo, was expelled from Norway for raiding other Norwegian settlements. Rollo left for Normandy, France with other Scandinavians from Denmark.

Rollo and his descendants in our family line lived in Normandy for six generations (between ~900 A.D. to ~1100 A.D.). Rollo’s brothers settled other areas of the Viking world: the Orkneys, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland.


Norman statues of Rollo “the walker” (l), William “Longsword” (c), and Richard I “the fearless” (r):




Could you be related to Rollo?  Is it possible to find out?


The Norman branch of the family followed their cousin William the Conqueror’s move into Britain with the Norman invasion (after the Battle of Hastings in 1066). Our family line and William the Conqueror’s line both share Richard I, Duke of Normandy as their common ancestor. William’s grandfather is Richard II, first son of Richard I. Our line branches off with Richard I’s third son, Mauger, Count of Corbeil. Mauger’s great grandson, Gilbert de Corbeil left Normandy and resettled in Britain.


Richard II “the good” (l), Richard III (c), Robert I “the magnificent” (r), and William “the Conqueror” (two below):





Norman family tree:



Initial settlement in Britain was in Northumbria. After two generations, the family again moved and resettled, this time to Staffordshire – in the heart of Britain. They there acquired ownership rights to a manor called Peshale (near Eccleshall; now known as Pershall, Staffordshire, SJ8129) whence our surname derives (~1200 A.D.). By the late 1500’s, the surname evolved from Peshale to Peshall, to Pershall, and eventually to Pearsall.

Thomas Pearsall arrived in the Colony of Virginia ~1629. From Virginia, the family relocated to Long Island, Colony of New York. New York state has the highest concentration of Pearsalls in the United States.

Pearsalls can also be found in many other countries that were former English colonies:  Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, etc. These family members probably trace their lines directly to Pearsalls that were in the United Kingdom.

The main geographical search areas for other Pearsall lines follow the migration and settlement areas:


·          Gamla Uppsala, Sweden  - 59.899° N 17.631° E (59°53'56.4000" N, 17°37'51.6000" E)
(from ~200 B.C. or ~70 generations to present-day)

·          Møre og Romsdal County, Norway  - 62.500° N 06.050° E (62°30'0.0000" N, 6°2'60.0000" E)
(from ~700 A.D. or ~44 generations to present-day)

·          Normandy Region, France  - 49.437° N 01.087° E (49°26'13.2000" N, 1°5'13.2000" E)
(from ~900 A.D. or ~38 generations to present-day)

·          Île-de-France Region, France - 48.610° N 02.481° E (48°36'35.9999" N, 2°28'51.6000" E)
(from ~1000 A.D. or ~35 generations to present-day)

·          Northumbria, England  - 54.837° N 01.541° W (54°50'13.2001" N, 1°32'27.5999" W)
(from ~1200 A.D. or ~32 generations to present-day)

·          Staffordshire County, England - 52.866° N 02.275° W (52°51'57.5999" N, 2°16'29.9999" W)
(from ~1200 A.D. or ~30 generations to present-day)

·          Long Island, New York  - 40.765° N 73.818° W (40°45'54.0000" N, 73°49'4.8000" W)
(from ~1600 A.D. or ~15 generations to present-day)


Density of Scandinavian settlements in Normandy, France:






Prior to the Norman period (~1200 A.D.), the family did not have a surname tradition. In order to find distant relatives in Sweden, Norway, the Orkney Islands, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and France, the project will more than likely have to rely solely on chance findings in DNA databases and comparative results from documented descendants of Rognvald.

From the establishment of the original surname (de Corbeil) to Lumley, to Peshale, and others, we can search various directories around the world for:


Parasol, Parcell, Parcelle, Parcells, Parcoll, Parsells, Parsells, Parsels, Parshall, Parsil, Parsill, Parsils, Parsoll, Parsolls, Pascal, Pashley, Passal, Passaley, Passelew, Pearcall, Pearceall, Pearceaull, Pearsall, Pearsel, Pearsell, Pearsol, Pearsoll, Peartil, Peashall, Peirsol, Perceaull, Persall, Persaul, Persee, Persel, Pershall, Persil, Persils, Persoll, Pertil, Perzel, Peschale, Peshale, Peshall, Pesenschale, Pexsall, Piersol, Piercall, Pierceall, Piersall, Porselly, Purcall, Purcel, Purcell, Purkell, Pursel, Pursel, Pursell, Purshale, Pursley, Purslow, Pussal, Pysse; Corbeil, Lumley, Suggenhull, Swinnerton, and Swynnerton (e.g. those that we believe to be related).


Based on modern DNA Y-STR marker testing, we can begin to verify/validate relationships, and estimate when individuals or groups shared a Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA).


Statue of Rollo, Duke of Normandy in Ålesund, Norway:



Photo above taken on trip in 1998


Genetic Genealogy


Previously unavailable, genetic testing now gives genealogists and hobbyists the ability to investigate their biological records (e.g. DNA). Since 2000, a number of companies now offer Y-DNA testing. The services do not decode the entire Y-chromosome; they will test a number of locations on the Y-chromosome (or markers) for repeated coding (or alleles). The number of markers tested range from 12 to 67. Testing less markers provides less resolution in estimating common ancestry; lower resolution tests are designed to identify deep ancestry (e.g. 10,000s of years). The more markers are tested, the nearer geneticists can estimate when two individuals shared a common ancestor. Based on current products offered, the 43-marker test is recommended (minimum 37-markers).

With results from the 43-marker test, an estimate can be made of how many generations back two individuals shared a common ancestor. My Pearsall line extends back between 60 to 70 generations (depending on what is accepted as genealogy vs. folklore). Maybe the Scandinavian sagas were right?


Bure – first in family (progenitor) [possibly present-day  or  ?]



Njord Yngve

Freyr Yngve








Dyggve – twelfth generation in family (genealogy begins)








Ottar Vandelcrow




Onund Roadmaker


Olaf Treefeller – 26th generation, first to Norway

Halfdan Huitbein


Halfdan the Mild

Ivar Jarl

Eystein Glumra

Rognvald (b.c. 830, d.c. 890) – 32nd generation; sons to    

Rollo (b.c. 860, d. 932) – 33rd generation, first to France

William Longsword (d. 942)

Richard I (b.c. 932, d. 996)

Mauger de Normandie (d. 1033)

Guillaume Werlac


Gilbert de Corbeil – 39th generation, first to England

Robert Fitz-gilbert de Corbeil

Robert de Peshale

John de Lumley de Peshale

William de Peshale

Walter de Peshale

Walter de Peshale

Adam de Peshale

Adam de Peshale

Sir Richard de Peshall (b.c. 1340, d.c. 1380)

Sir Thomas de Peshall (b.c. 1370, d.c. 1420)

Nicholas de Peshall (b.c. 1400, d.c. 1450)

Hugh de Peshall (b.c. 1430, d.c. 1490)

Sir Hugh de Peshall (b.c. 1450, d. 1488)

Humphrey Peshall (b.c. 1470, d. 1489)

John Pershall (b. 1485, d.c. 1520)

Richard Pershall (b.c. 1500, d.c. 1550)

Edmund Pershall (b.c. 1531, d. 1629)

Thomas Pearsall (b.c. 1580, d. 1643) – 57th generation, first to America

Henry Pearsall (b.c. 1630, d.c. 1680)

George Pearsall (b.c. 1650, d.c. 1700)

George Pearsall (b.c. 1670, d.c. 1750)

Nathaniel Pearsall (b.c. 1700, d.c. 1750)

George Pearsall (b. 1739, d. 1825)

Peter Pearsall (b. 1769, d. 1838)

John Pearsall (b. 1801, d. 1886)

John Henry Pearsall (b. 1831, d. 1897)

John Albert Pearsall (b. 1855, d. 1937)

Roscoe Harrison Pearsall (b. 1889, d. 1947)

John Albert Pearsall

James Allan Pearsall





Please participate! All are welcome to join. Science is now available to help “reconstruct” our family tree with your help. The three primary service providers are: DNA Heritage, Relative Genetics, and Family Tree DNA. The Pearsall Family project is registered with each of the three providers linked in the table below. In order to join the project, the process includes:

1.       Register with one of the three service providers below and contact the project administrator (myself)

2.       Order a test and request a sample kit (typically with two cheek swabs)

3.       Using a cheek swab, gently rub the inside of your cheeks for ~60 seconds (painless)

4.       Place the cheek swab in a sealed envelope or container

5.       After ~4 hours, repeat steps 3 and 4 with the second cheek swab

6.       Return both samples to the testing service

7.       Testing usually takes about 6 weeks

8.       You will be notified of the results on-line

9.       Your results can then be compared with others to calculate genetic distance (e.g. when two individuals likely shared a common ancestor)

10.    Values from the test results can be used to search public databases (listed below) for other closely-related individuals.




Testing service


DNA Heritage



Relative Genetics




Family Tree DNA




Pearsall Family DNA surname project links








Recommended test is 43-markers (minimum 37-markers)



Y-DNA 43

Y-DNA 43

Y-DNA 37 or
Y-DNA 67*







$189 or


*67-marker test recommended
over 37-marker test;
more information
provided on
DNA testing details

DNA storage provided





MtDNA testing offered





Service rating





Public database


Other testing service providers – these tend to be specialist labs (not recommended for this project)








Oxford Ancestors



Trace Genetics







Genographic Project



Other databases













International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG)


Link to detailed comparison of labs from ISOGG








TO INITIAL PROJECT RESULTS (updated August 23, 2006)--à


TO SECOND PROJECT RESULTS (updated October 14, 2006)--à


TO THIRD PROJECT RESULTS (updated November 5, 2006)--à


TO FOURTH PROJECT RESULTS (updated January 8, 2007)--à


TO NEW RESEARCH ANNOUNCEMENT (updated March 14, 2007)--à


 TO NEW RESEARCH ANNOUNCEMENT (updated April 14, 2007)--à


 TO FIFTH PROJECT RESULTS (updated May 4, 2008)--à


 TO NEW NOTICE (updated May 10, 2008)--à


 TO NEW CALCULATOR (updated May 17, 2008)--à


 TO NEW RESULTS (updated May 26, 2008)--à






Excursion Inlet, Alaska


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