Recorded in many forms although most are quite rare and including Ifel, Iffel, Iffill, Ithel, Ivel, Wivell and others, this is an English surname. It origins are ancient and prew 5th century a.d. However spelt it is locational from the rivers called Ivel in the counties of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. The derivation is from the Old Breton and Welsh word "gafl", meaning fork, and describing a fork in a river. The earliest recordings include Givle in the cartularly of Hertford in 1180, as Giule in the tax registers known as the Feet of Fines, and as Yivele in the pipe rolls of 1294. Locational names were generally given to former inhabitants of a village or area, as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. As Ivel, it was also recorded as a personal name for example Ivel Faber of Devonshire in 1272. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Ithel. This was dated 1336, in the Staffordshire Assize Court, during the reign of King Edward 111rd of England, and known as "The Father of the English Navy", 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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