This interesting surname has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Sells may be of early medieval Germanic origin, deriving from the Middle High German "geselle", journeyman, companion, cognate with "gefahrte", companion, partner, and originally given as a nickname to a companionable person. In the Middle Ages, the term may have been used to denote someone who accompanied a nobleman on his travels, or it may have indicated a relative or kinsman. One Heinricus dictus Geselle, mayor of Reutlingen, was recorded in 1274 (see below), and a Johann Selle of Strassburg was noted in 1303. On October 21st 1743, Christian Sells and Elizabeth Busse were married at Falkenburg, Pommern, Germany, and on March 6th 1825, Caarl Friederich, son of Franz Sells, was christened at Soest, Westfalen. The second possibility is that Sells is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a topographical name from residence by a rough hut or animal shelter, deriving from residence by a rough hut or animal shelter, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "(ge)sell", Middle English "selle", herdsman's hut. In many cases the name may have been in effect occupational for a herdsman. One Humfrey ater Selle was noted in the 1296 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, and on March 29th 1579, Giles Sells, an infant, was christened at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a red shield with a semee of gold bezants, and three black cannon balls on a silver escutcheon. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Heinricus Selle (Geselle), which was dated 1274, in "Medieval Records of Reutlingen", Germany, during the reign of Rudolf 1 of Habsburg, 1273 - 1291. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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