This uncommon and interesting surname is of early medieval Low German origin, and is one of the patronymic forms of the surname Die(h)l, itself a diminutive form of D(i)ederich, which derives from an ancient Germanic personal name, Theodoric. The given name is composed of the Germanic elements "theudo", people, race, with "ric", power; Theodoric was the name of the Ostrogothic leader (circa 454 - 526) who invaded Italy in 488 and established his capital at Ravenna in 493. That the personal name was extremely popular is borne out by the large number and variety of derivative surnames that it generated all over Europe. Examples of the range of forms found mainly in the Low Countries include: the marriage of Elisabeth Dielis and Walterus de Ridder on October 11th 1648, at Wommelgem, Antwerp; the christening of Petrus, son of Joannes Diels, on February 17th 1715, at Kessel, Antwerp; and the marriage of Jacobus Dils and Catharine Baden on February 20th 1721, at Ehrang, in the Rhineland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johannes Dils, which was dated February 14th 1616, christening witness at Rheinhessen, Bingenstadt, Germany, during the reign of Matthias, "Holy Roman Emperor", 1612 - 1619. 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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