Recorded in a wide variety of spellings including Krol, Kroll, Krolle, Krolman, Krollman (German), Krol, Krolak, Krolik (Polish), Kira and Kiraly (Hungarian), Krahl (Jewish), and many others, this is a surname of pre 7th century Germanic origins. It has several possible meanings, and may be described as being of complex etymology. The first and most likely meaning is as a medieval nickname. This is from the slavonic word of the pre 7th century 'krol', meaning 'king'. As such the surname was usually a theatrical name for an actor who played the part of a king in the famous travelling theatres of those ancient times, and became so associated with the part, that like many later film stars, the part name became the actual surname. Other possibilities include someone who was elected 'King for the day'. Many local communities elected people to serve in this capacity. It was originally meant to be a humourous appointment, and was often a part of the New Year celebrations, but again some men became associated with the position to the point where 'krol' became their name. Another possibility is again a nickname, in this case one given by the person's compatriots to one who was thought to give himself 'kingly' airs, whilst for many nameholders it is possible that it was originally a baptismal term of endearment. The derivation in this case being from the High German word 'krol', but this time meaning a curl. The word was used as a term of endearment for a curly haired baby, and as a result it developed into a first name and subsequently from the 12th century onwards, into a surname. Finally it is also possible that for some nameholders at least, their name derives from the topographical word 'groll' meaning a grassy bank, which is also the name of several places in Eastern Europe. The earliest known example odf the surname recording in any spelling is probably that of Klaus Krol of the city of Lubeck, in the year 1339.
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