Recorded as Carmo, Karmo, Carmel, Karmel, and Karmeli, this is a surname of Hebrew origins, although it is not necessarily Jewish. It originates from the the mountain range in Israel which extend to the south of the city of Haifa. It is thought that the deriavtion is from the ancient word 'keremel', which loosely translates as the vineyard of god! Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original home to move somewhere else. The easiest way to identify a stranger in ancient times, was to call him or sometimes her, by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling being at best erratic and local dialects very thick, soon lead to the development of 'sounds like' spellings. In this case it is said that the mountain range became a refuge for hermits, although it is most associated with the famous Christian knights known as the Crusaders who had bases there during their many attempts to 'free' the Holy Land from the grip of the Muslims. All were unsuccessful, but it did not stop returning knights from calling their children by biblical names, of which this was one. In addition the name was associated with the Carmelite Order of monks. Whilst monks themselves being celibate, did not adopt the name, secular servants at the monasteries may well have done.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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