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EARL Family HistoryRecorded in many forms including Earl, Hurl, Harle, Hearle, Earle, Earles, Hurles and no doubt others, this is a surname of English pre 7th century origins. In its earliest form it indicated a freeman who was also a chief, and probably a successful warrior. Later after the Norman Invasion of 1066 it was introduced as an English rank of nobility, and seems to have been equivalent to the French rank of Count. However where it is recorded as a surname, it must be said that rarely were the original namebearers holders of the rank in question, although this may apply to the first nameholder.
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