This ancient Welsh surname is generally baptismal in origin, and equivalent to the English 'Dear'. It was first applied as literally either a name of endearment, or it may have occasionally been given as a nickname and as such is an interesting example of how when a word is used repetitively it becomes attached to the user. The surname is found in several spellings the most popular being Annwyl and Anwyl, although 'Anvil' may also be from the same origin. Wales took longer than almost anywhere in Europe to adopt hereditary surnames, and even longer to accurately record them. They preferred to stay with the family patronymics such as John ap Morgan ap Griffiths etc, which whilst romantic and genealogical, were by any standards a very unwieldy. This did not matter whilst the population was geographically static. An(n)wyl was originally found only in North Wales, and is quite unmistakeable in its 'Gaelic' origins. Early recording examples include Margaret Wenal Anwyll of Sannan in 1666, Mary vach Anwill, buried at Rhydderch on April 5th 1697, and Johannis Anwyl of Conway in 1731. Apparently a book called 'The pedigree of the Anwyls of Caerwys' which commenced in the eighteenth century down to Sir Robert Anwyl of Park and Bala, in the former county of Merioneth, is available. The coat of arms has the blazon of a green field, charged with three gold eagles displayed, fessewise. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Anwell, which was dated November 26th 1652, a witness at St Botolphs, Aldergate, London, during the reign of Oliver Cromwell, known as 'The Great Protector', 1649 - 1658. 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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