Recorded in over forty diferent spelling forms inlcluding Gabriel, Gaber, Gavriel, Gabrieli, Gabion, Gabrielsen, Gavrilichev, Gabarkiewicz, and Gawrysiak, this is a "Crusader" surname. Found in most European countries but specifically Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands, Russia, The Ukraine, Poland, and Scandanavia, it derives from the ancient Hebrew personal name "Gavriel" meaning "God has given me strength". According to the New Testament of the Bible, it was the Archangel Gabriel who announced to the Virgin Mary that she was to become the Mother of Jesus. Given this sort of provenance it was hardly surprising that the name achieved great popularity during the religious revival of the Middle Ages. This culminated in the twelve crusades ostensibly to free the Holy Land from the grip of the Muslims. In the 13th century it became the fashion for returning Crusaders to give their children biblical names in honour of the fathers exploits, and this name was a particularly popular example. In the course of time these personal names became patronymic surnames in their own right. The earliest recordings of the name in any form after the Crusades are to be found in England and these include Gabriel filius Reginald in the Curia Regis rolls of the county of Sussex in the year 1212, and later Gabrielle Spyg in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Sussex in 1296. Curiously the first recording of the surname also occurs in 1296 and in the same county, when brothers Roger and Nicholas Gabryel appear in the Tax Subsidy Rolls. This was during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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