Last name: Dahl

This is a Scandanavian locational or ornamental surname of pre 7th century origins, and like so many, based upon the word "dahl", meaning valley, the English "dale". The Scandanavian countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, were the last countries in Europe to adopt fixed hereditary surnames. In Britain and Germany for instance, many surnames existed in the 12th century, and by the 15th at the latest, everybody had the surname in more or less the same spelling, as they have today five hundred years later. Scandanavian examples of the surname built around the base surname Dahl and Dahle include Dahlin, a diminutive meaning "Little Dahl", Dahlgren, the green valley, Dahlberg, the mountain by the valley, Dahlman, the man from the valley, and reversed forms such as Agdahl, the river through the valley, Ogdahl, probably from the ancient word "ugl" meaning high, the high valley, and Tedahl, from the word "teudo" meaning people, the people of the valley. Original hereditary surnames were first adopted by countries with a large number of land owning classes or a growing urban population. These conditions barely existed in Scandanavia. Early examples of the name recordings taken from authentic church registers include Erik Dahlberg of Saaksmaki, Finland, on September 27th 1730, and Knud Dahle, at Bygland, Norway, on January 6th 1744. The first recording of the surname in any form may be that of Lars Dahl, at Gefile, Sweden, on May 1st 1702.

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