The English surname Earle, also found in Ireland, is either a nickname or an occupational name for a servant employed in a noble household. The vocabulary word is a native one, from the Old English term eorl meaning “nobleman,” and in the Middle Ages was often used as an equivalent of the Norman Count. The earliest record of the name is in 1095 when Lefuin Eorl is recorded in the records of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds. The earliest record of the name in the New World is in 1633 when Christopher Earle are recorded in Virginia. Today there are approximately 9,000 bearers of the name Earls living in the United States.