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Donal Family History
This is a patronymic surname which is derived from the name of an ancestor and, as such, means 'son of Daniel'. The suffix 's' is added to make the related form 'Daniels', as well as 'son' to form 'Danielson'.
It ultimately comes from the Hebrew personal name, Daniel (meaning 'God is my judge'), which is prominent in the Bible, and as such became popular during medieval times in Britain.
Early examples of the surname appear in the 13th century Liber Feodorum where an Alicia Daniel of Gloucestershire is named, and the 14th century Kikby's Quest where a Simon Danyel of Somerset is recorded. Other early spelling variations include Danyell, Daniell and Danyl as recorded on the 1379 Poll Tax of Yorkshire.
In Ireland, Daniel may have developed into the forms Donall, Donald and Donagh, and in Scotland it was adopted as an equivalent form for Donald.
In Wales, both the forms Daniel and Daniels are used and are more common in the south than in the north. Both these forms relate to an ancestor with the personal name Daniel who would have lived at some point between the 16th and 19th centuries when fixed, hereditary surnames first emerged in Wales. Families in the western half of the country adopted fixed surnames much later than in other areas.
In England, the surname is more commonly seen in the south of the country, in particular in Cornwall, Devon, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Kent, Norfolk and Bedfordshire.
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