Recorded as Carvil, Carvill, Carville (English and French), the Provencal Carvilla, and the Irish MacCarvil, O' Carvil, MacCarvill, O' Carvill, Carvill and Carvil, this is a surname of very confusing origins. If French, Provencal and usually English, it is locational from a place called Carville in the departement of Calvados in Normandy, or from the village of the same name in Seine-Inferieur. Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they moved from their original homes, to somewhere else, as an easy means of identity. In this case the name is first recorded in England in the year 1195 when Edward de Carevilla, appears in the pipe rolls for the county of Warwickshire. The meaning of the name is probably the house on the rock, although the stone house is also a possibility. Aside from this the second possible origin is claimed to be from the Irish surnames O' Carrol and MacCaroll. These are, it is said, two completely different clans although they both have the similar meaning of the son or male descendant of the 'warrior', from an ancient word 'cearbh' meaning to cut or hack. There were six distinct septs of 'Carroll' in Ireland, in the counties of Kerry, Offaly, Monaghan, Tipperary, Leitrim and Louth, and not surprisingly Carroll has a high position in the list of most numerous surnames in Ireland. As to how the variant spellings as O' or Mac Carvil(l)'s were formed is very unclear, and it may be that even in Ireland they are actually of Norman-French origins, and not Gaelic. The surname was most numerous in the province of Ulster, where they were renowned musicians. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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