This interesting surname has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Minall may be of Old French origin, and a topographical name for someone who lived in an isolated country dwelling, rather than in the main village, deriving from the Old French "mesnil" (Late Latin "mansionillum", a diminutive of "mansio", abode, country domain). This word was adopted in Middle English as "meinil, mesnil", and in 1100 Meynell (Langley) in Derbyshire was held by a Norman Lord, Robert de Maisnell, his family having come from one of the French places called Mesnil. Early examples of the surname include: Nicholas de Menil (Yorkshire, 1276) and Henry Meynel (Essex, 1321). The second possibility is that Minall derives from a Norman female personal name, ultimately from the Old German "Maginhild", a compound of the elements "magin", strength, might, and "hild", battle. Early recordings of the surname from this source include: Ralph Manel (Huntingdonshire, 1279) and Hugh Maneld (Suffolk, 1327). Minall, with variant spellings Mynall, Minald, Mynold, Min(n)ell, and Minil(l), is particularly well recorded in Church Registers of Berkshire, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire from the late 16th Century. On October 8th 1598, William Minall and Elizabeth Smith were married at Wargrave, Berkshire, and in 1613, Elizabeth Minall married Thomas Tylye at Iron Acton, Gloucestershire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Meinil, which was dated 1166, in the "Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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