This interesting surname is of German and Ashkenazic origins, used as an ethnic or regional name for someone from Franconia ("Franken" in Germany), which is a region of south-west Germany, so called because it formed an early Frankish settlement. Thus Frankel is a German and Ashkenazic diminutive of this placename. It may also be a form of "Frank", from the Norman given name "Franc", an ethnic name for a Frank (Germanic people who inhabited the Rhine region), plus the diminutive suffix "el", little. Frank also comes from a medieval English and old French word "franc", meaning liberal, generous (it meant free in earlier times, because only those of Frenkish race were free). German variant spellings include "Frankl, Frenkel, Frankel and Frankle", while Ashkenazic variants are "Frank(e)l" and "Frenk(i)el". Elias Benjamin Frankel married Elizabeth Myers at Christchurch, Southwark, London on April 25th 1850. One Marcus Frankel married Deliza Jones at St. John the Baptist, Shoreditch, London on December 4th 1871. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Francois Franchel, (marriage to Anne Scott in London), which was dated December 4th 1799, London Church Registers, during the reign of King George 111, "Farmer George", 1760 - 1820. 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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