This interesting and long-established surname is of early medieval Germanic origin, and derives from the Old German male given name "Godebert", a compound of the elements "god, got", good, god, and "berht", bright, famous, or from "Godebald", composed of "god, got" (as above), and "bald", bold, brave. Germanic names originally consisting of two roots were often shortened, and thus in medieval documents Bernhard appears as "Bernd", and Rudolf is frequently rendered "Rolf". Early recordings of Gobel as a personal name include: Gobel filius Gobelini de Lippia (Strettin, 1346), and Gobel Breitschenkel (Lahn. 1370). The surname first appears on record in the early 14th Century, and in 1369, Peter and Cunrad Gobel (brothers) were entered in medieval registers of Liegnitz. Surnames derived from given names are the oldest and most pervasive surname type, and in vernacular naming traditions (as distinct from religious), names were originally composed of vocabulary elements of the local language, and no doubt bestowed for their auspicious connotations. A Coat of Arms granted to the Gobel family is recorded heraldically in Rietstap's "Armorial General", and is a shield divided per pale gold and red with a black demi eagle in the first gold half, and two silver (pitch) forks with black handles on a gold inset between two silver bends in the second red half. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Clawi Gobel, which was dated 1320, in "Early Medieval Records of Villingen", Germany, during the reign of Louis 1V of Bavaria, 1314 - 1347. 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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