Axtell Family OrganizationAbout the Name Axtell

Axtell is of Anglo-Saxon. And that's about all any researcher is sure of. See Research on the origins of Axtell.

Some mathematical thoughts on the name

Axtell is approximately the 11,415th most common name in the U.S. according to the US Census Name Search. About 0.001% of the USA is named Axtell. 72.507% of the country have names more common than Axtell. So, about three out of four Americans have a surname more common than Axtell.

0.001% of the US population (1 out of every 100,000 residents) is very roughly 2,600 living Americans with the surname Axtell. Some number of those changed their name TO Axtell at marriage and about the same number probably changed their name FROM Axtell at marriage. But Thomas Axtell's paternal descendancy (those descendants born with the surname Axtell) represents only about 1/2^10 (one over two to the tenth power) or 1/1024th of all his descendants. So, a complete decendancy would include about 2,000,000 living descendants (not accounting for the double counting of distant cousins marrying back into the paternal line). Perhaps one out of every 100 Americans is an Axtell cousin of some sort.

Common Ancestry

Almost all Axtells in America have common ancestors in Thomas and Mary Axtell of Sudbury, Massachusetts. (Some are in the Nez Perce line and a few have immigrated to America from England recently.) But 12th generation Axtells have up to 1023 other sets of G-G-G-G-G-G-G-G-G-Grandparents. Thomas and Mary are a tiny part of our ancestry, but the name has proved a strong tie. (Most living Axtells are probably in the 12th generation.)

Thomas had only one son, Henry. So, most American Axtells also have common ancestors in Henry Axtell and Hannah Merriam.

Spelling Variations: Axtel, Axtelle

Charlie Axtell's address/telephone database has 3 entries spelled "Axtel." I don't know if this is just the common misspelling of "Axtell" that has crept into a phone listing, or an it's-there-on-the-birth-certificate genuine alternate spelling. Help, anyone?

"Axtelle" is a 20th Century variant. Jim (James Edward) Axtelle writes (1995):
My grandfather George E. Axtelle's (10-29a) first wife Jeanne B. Houser added the "e" at the end of the name when my grandfather was away at WW1. The reason she did this was because it bothered her when people pronounced the name "Axtl" leaving the "e" silent. Well, not only do people still mis-pronounce the name in the old way (silent "e") but now there is a new pronunciation which people treat the "e" at the end as a hard "e" (AX-TEL-E). I don't know for sure but I imagine this bothered my grand mother just as much.

The spelling variations among geographical names include Axtel, Ohio and Axtel, Kentucky. See Places named Axtell.

Axtell as a First Name

In the 1945 Genealogy, one family used "Axtell" as a first name in two generations. Axtell Julius Byles was born 10 Oct. 1880, son of Julius and Mary Emeline (Axtell) Byles, graduated from Princeton in 1903 and went on to become the President of the American Petroleum Institute in 1934. He had a son, Axtell Byles.

When I first posted this website in 1995, I asked here, "Does anyone know if they went by the name "Axtell" or by a middle name?" In 2000 I got my answer

Pat Wagner writes (Nov 2000):
 I am the daughter-in-law of Axtell Byles, married to his son Calvin Axtell Byles. You asked if Axtell Byles uses his first name - he does - his nickname at one time was Ax. His father, Axtell J. Byles, went by A.J. 
I have only heard the emphasis on the first syllable, Ax-tell, but it is a slight accent.

Marcy Byles writes (Feb 2001):
My name is
Marcy Byles, granddaughter of Axtell Julius Byles, daughter of Axtell Byles. To answer your question, my father does not have a middle name, and as far as I know, his older brother, Julius Byles (deceased), didn't either.

Also in  1995, I found Axtell Sheets listed in the Class of 1919 of Frankfort (Indiana) High School in a page of Lori Bushman's Genealogy Website. This was back when a web search on Axtell yielded only a few dozen pages. There is no Sheets family in the Axtell genealogy, so I have no clue why he was given his unusual first name. I was further surprised to see on Ebay in January 1999, a slide rule for auction with his name imprinted in the upper left (see photo). He (she?) is still a mystery.

On the other hand, Axtell is used often as a middle name to honor the maternal line--at least since middle names became common around 1820. Are there any people with Axtell as a middle name who use it as their preferred name out there?

Nicknames, etc.

It is probably a rare Axtell who has not, at some point in school, gone by the nickname, "Ax."

Trying to decide on a name for your child? Check out What to Name Your Axtell Baby.

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Page last revised 04 May 2001 by Dan Axtell