This interesting locational name, with the variants Drysdall and Drysdell, is Scottish in origin, from Dryfesdale, a parish in county Dumfries. The parish takes its name from the River Dryfe and the Olde English "Doel" meaning valley. The use of village or parish names for surnames was quite common among persons who migrated from their native homes and would thereafter be known as being from that place. For example, as in the case of two brothers, William and James Douglas who in May 1503 being outlawed from Drysdale as a result of a right-of-way dispute involving killings, settled in Fifeshire. They changed their names to Drysdale which accounts for the adoption and popularity of the name there. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gawine Dryfesdale, which was dated 1499, in the "Black's, Surnames of Scotland", during the reign of King Henry V11, known as "Henry Tudor", 1485 - 1509. 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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