Normally recorded as Drysdale but also to be found as Drydale, Drysdall and Drysdell, this is a Scottish surname which in its early days was associated with some very robust events. It originates from the village of Dryfesdale, but pronounced Drysdale, a parish in Annandale in the the county of Dumfriesshire. The parish takes its name from the River Dryfe and the Olde English word "doel" meaning a valley. Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say names that were given to people after they left their particular area and moved somewhere else. This is particulary true of this name, as it would seem that in 1503 two brothers, William and James Douglas, were outlawed from Drysdale as a result of a right-of-way dispute which lead to a killing. They later settled in Fifeshire, where they changed their names to Drysdale, and this is believed to account for the popularity of the surname in that county. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gawine Dryfesdale. The record is dated 1499, when he it seems that as a soldier of the king of Scotland he was charged with plunder, but was later cleared. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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