I note that this discussion group is rather recent in origin and that many are looking for the source of the name.
I am the hereditary Sennachaidh or historian for the Scottish Clan Laing. Perhaps I can be of some small assistance.
Many families obtained their surnames from their origin of birth. Assel comes from the kingdom or county of Assel or Assels in ancient Westphalia.
The Laings are descended from the Count of Assel or Asseles of 1300. Assel was a kingdom in ancient Saxony which is now Germany. When the region was united under the early popes into Westphalia, it became a state or county, hence the title.
The arms for the Count of Assel were given in 1310 in the Lord Marshall's roll of England. Afterwards, Assel or Asseles is not mentioned much in the chronicles. Apparently the count of 1310 was given refuge in England and it became his permanent residence.
For a little on the Counts of Assel, see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11383c.htm and http://www.geocities.com/renfroana/history/dissertation.htm
Both articles are rather long and the mention of the Count is brief so use your word search function in your browser and key in Assel.
The reason that I dropped in was in the hopes that one of you might be able to inform me of the approximate outline of the lands belonging to the Count of Assel. If any of you are able to determine this, would you please share the information with me?
of the Clan Laing
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