Recorded as Michel, Michell, Mitchall, Mitchard, Mitchel, Mitchell, and possibly others, t his name can be of English, Scottish or Irish origin, and derives from the popular medieval personal name "Michael", in the medieval vernacular pronounced "Michel", meaning "who is like the Lord", from the Hebrew "Micha-el". The personal name is first recorded in circa 1160, when one "Michaelis de Areci" appears in the Danelaw Documents of London, while "Michel" appears somewhat later, as in Michel de Whepstede (1327, Suffolk). The surname, in its early form of Michel, was well established by the early 1200's, as in the example below, and in the records of William Michel being paid 3d per day for keeping two of the Kings' wolfhounds in 1219. Agnes Mitchell was married to Richard Freeman on June 24th 1582, at St. Dunstan's in Stepney, London. Michael Mitchell, aged 20 yrs., a famine emigrant, sailed from Liverpool aboard the "Cambridge", bound for New York in May 1846. A Coat of Arms granted to a Mitchell family is on a black shield, an escallop between three gold birds' heads erased. The Crest is a gold demi pegasus, blue winged, charged on the shoulder with a red demi rose, divided fesseways with silver rays issuing from the division pendent. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert Michel, which was dated 1205, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Northumberland", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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