This surname is of combined Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse origin, and is a locational name from the several places called Birkhill, for example Birkhill village in Forfarshire, Birkhill mountain pass between Selkirkshire and Dumfriesshire, and Birkhill wood in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The placename is composed of the Middle English "birke", a development of the Old Norse "birki" meaning birch, plus the Olde English pre 7th Century "hyll", hill. Variations in the spelling of the surname include Birckhill, Birckill, Birkill, Birkell and Burkell. Recordings of the name in Yorkshire Church Registers include the christening of Christina Brukill at Whitgift on May 11th 1583, and the marriage of John Burkill and Hannah Falkingham on the 1st January 1773 in Bishopthorpe. London Church list William,s on of John and Margaret Burkhill, on the 13th October 1633 at St. Mary Whitechapel and the marriage of William Burkill and Ann Blithman on the 17th November 1685 at St. Lawrence Jewry, Milk Street, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Byrkell, which was dated 30th August 1570, christened at Stainton in Cleveland, Yorkshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, Good Queen Bess, 1558-1603. 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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