Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is a medieval surname of French locational origins. The recordings include spellings such as Lavalle, Laval, Lavall, Deval, Duval, Lavell, Lavelle (also Irish), Lavielle, Lavallin, Lavalline and others. In general the name translates as 'of the valley' referring to one who was resident in such a place. It seems to have been mainly introduced into the British Isles with the second of the great influxes of French and Flemish Huguenot refugees in the early 18th century. This of course does not effect the origin and meaning, except that in Britain confusion can arise through the closeness of spelling with the Irish clan name 'Lavelle'. This also crossed the water into England at much the sametime, so what appears to be French may in fact be Irish or vice versa. The Irish surname derives from the ancient Gaelic O' Maolfhabhail, and translates as 'The descendant of the messenger' or similar. Early examples of recordings in England include Pierre and Anne Lavielle. Their daughter Anne Madellene, was recorded at the French Huguenot church, Threadneedle Street in the city of London in the anglicised form of Laval on October 15th 1704, whilst Christolfe La Ville was christened on March 1st 1710, at the Huguenot church of St. Jean Spitalfields', whilst Adam Lavall was christened on the 26th June 1757 at Putney, in West London. The French coat of arms associated with the surname has the very distinctive blazon of a gold field charged with a red cross, and thereon five silver escallops, the sign of the crusader or pilgrim to the Holy Land. 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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