Vahl - what does Vahl surname mean?

Although this surname is now accepted as Germanic, its origins surprisingly perhaps, are Catalan circa 6th Century. The translation is from `Vall or Valle` and describes one resident in a valley or possibly by a prominent ditch or wall. In the 5th and 6th Centuries A.D. the Gauls invaded what is now Spain, but were driven out again circa 710. They did however, `adopt` a number of Spanish words, this being one of them. The name is also found recorded heraldically as `Vahl of Prussia` and `De Vahl of London`. The name example below relates to a gentleman originally from Dublin who was appointed an officer at the Court of Brazil in the period before it became a republic in 1889. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Denis Samuel De Vahl, which was dated March 20th 1844, appointed in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, during the reign of His Imperial Majesty, Don Pedro 11 of Brazil. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to `develop` often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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