Origin of the Name

Surnames began to be adopted during the Middle Ages.

Some were based on a clan name or an ancestor’s name. Others were based on occupation, or a physical characteristic, or a given name, or a nick name, or the name of the place where the person lived.

Poncelet is a French diminutive cognate form of the English (of Norman origin) name Points, which comes from the Medieval given name Ponche. That name can be traced back to Latin Pontius, which may have come from an Italian cognate of Quintus (fifth-born). Variations of Points are Poyntz and Punch. Other cognate forms are Pons, Ponce, Point (French); Ponzi, Ponzio, Ponzo, Punzi, Punzio, Punzo (Italian); Ponce (Spain); Poms (Dutch). Other diminutive forms include Pointel (English); Ponci, Poncin, Poncet, Punchet, Punchon (French); Ponzetti, Punzetti, Punzetto (Italian). The diminutive form of a name is a pet form, such as Billy is to Bill or William; Tommy is to Thomas, and so on. This explanation was provided by Larry Hoefling who maintains an Internet web site dedicated to information about surnames (see http://www.clanhuston.com).

When our Poncelet ancestors came to this country, they could not write or spell their name so the English-speaking clerks wrote it as they heard it pronounced: Possley. Other variant spellings found in Ozaukee County records include Ponslet, Poncle, Puncle, Puncele, Ponsel, Ponsle, Ponsley, Ponsli, Ponsly, Possle, Possele, Possely, Posseley, Polslese, Pously, Posly, Pusle,

The most prominent member of the Poncelet family was Jean Victor Poncelet (1788-1867), a French mathematician. The poncelet, a unit of measurement, was named after him.

Another prominent Poncelet is Jean Pol Poncelet, the current national defense minister of Belgium.

Today, there are many people in the world with the surname Poncelet. Some are related but many are not.

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