This is an anglicized (Victorian) spelling of the Old German (and possibly Anglo-Saxon) locational name which means 'a dweller by, or a digger of ditches, canals and graves.' The usual spellings are, Grable (as the famous film star) Grabl, Grabel, Grabill and Grabell, although the normal English spelling is 'Graver', which can mean either 'a digger' or an engraver or sculptor, a medieval job description of the 13th century. The early records in Germany were largely lost in war, the first recording being heraldic from the Tirol region in the 17th century. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johannes Grabel which was dated C.1680 The Tirol, Austria during the reign of Emperor Leopold 1 of the Holy Roman Empire 1668-1705 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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