This interesting surname is of Scottish origin, and is a locational name from a place thus called in the parish of Erskine, Renfrewshire. The placename is believed to derive from the Old Gaelic "dearg", red, with the Old French "val" (Latin "vallis"), valley, or "ville", village, settlement; hence, "village/valley where oak trees grow", or "red village/valley" (the colour would probably refer to the colour of the soil, or some vegetation that was growing). During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Dargavel and Dargavell. Recordings of the surname from Scottish Church Registers include: the christening of Charles, son of John and Jonet Dargavell, on February 5th 1671, at Edinburgh Parish, Edinburgh, Midlothian; the marriage of Robert Dargavel and Sara Creightown at Glencairn, Dumfriesshire, on December 5th 1700; and the christening of Charles, son of James and Margaret Dargavel, on February 18th 1739, at Penpont, Dumfriesshire. John Dargavell was groom at Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfriesshire, in 1740. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Dargavell, tenant of the Douglas in Thornhill, Dumfriesshire, which was dated 1376, in the "Ancient Charters of the earldom of Morton", Scotland, during the reign of King Robert 11 of Scotland, 1371 - 1390. 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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