- Recorded in a wide range of spellings including Adel, Adelman, Adde, Adon, Adelmann, Adema, Adelung, Aden, Adena, and ornamental compounds such as Adelbaum (noble tree), Adelberg, Adelsberg (noble mountain), Adelstein (precious stone) and others, this is a German or Ashkenasic surname. It originates from the pre 7th century word "adal" meaning noble or above price, and as such was a popular baptismal name in the period of history called the Dark Ages ((5th to the 9th century) through to the formation of surnames from about the 12th century a.d. In the 18th century many people fled to Germany from surrounding areas to the south particularly, the Balkans and Turkey, where then as now, the rise of a militant Muslim religion threatened anybody not of that faith. Many of these people were given "ornamental" surnames in Germany. These were names which extolled the virtues of nature and the countryside. Early examples of recordings taken from surviving rolls and registers of medieval Germany include: Johannes Adel zu Worms in the year 1304, Hans Adelber zu Urach in 1399, and Cunrat der Adelmann von Adelmannsfelden in 1351.
Surnames reference. 2013.