Recorded in many forms including Leopold, Leupoldt, Leipoldt, Leibold, Leipelt, (Austrian, German & Swiss), Leipnik (Croation & Yugoslavian) and others, this is a surname of pre 7th century Olde German origins. It derives from the early personal name 'Luit-bold' meaning literally people-bold, but probably having a more pragmatic meaning to the people of those ancient times. It was however a typical compound name being associated with strength, rule of law, and tribal comradeship. The original personal name was particularly popular in Austria where seven rulers bore it prior to the end of the 14th century.From Austria, the name spread throughout German speaking countries and eventually it reached England through King Leopold of Belgium. Britains Queen Victoria named her youngest son after her uncle. Meanwhile the surname continued on a parallel course, being recorded as early as 1345 with Hans Luprecht of Bayreuth, and later in 1587 with the example of Johannes Leopold of Binsdorf. Surnames generally 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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