Dirk Werle said:

There isn't a great deal that I know about the Werles except what I heard through family lore. My folks, (incl. myself) were from Germany, but that was not the origin of the family name. It's Hugenotte, and the (French) "Werli"'s at the time were mainly trades people who did not necessarily adhere to the policies and rules laid out by the French (Catholic!) kings. So most of the Hugenottes, incl. the Werlis, were kicked out of France after the edict of Nantes (I believe) and followed the call of the Prussian Kings who were looking for good trade folks. Protestant or Catholoic, they couldn't care less. So there was a lot of migration going on: Eastward Ho! The first 'foot-lame' (my grandfather's words, not mine) W's got stuck in the Reformist centres along the eastern border of France, e.g. Strassbourg and Geneva, and there are still concentrations of W's in those regions today. The W' with the stronger hiking boots made they way further East and eventually settled. In southern Germany and Switzerland, many W's actually spell their name "Wehrle, Werli, or Wehrli". I don't really know how many of them actually made itto the Prussian heartland. Some of us obviously weren't too impressed with their choices either, and later hop skipped and jumped across the Atlantic... Sounds familiar?

Anyone with history to add please email it to swerle@ent.umass.edu and I will add it to this document.