This very interesting name appears to be Irish but in fact is English in most instances. It is locational and derives from the Old English "aken-hyl" or "ac-hyl" meaning one who resides by the oak covered hillside. A similar fype of name is "Odell which derives from a village in Bedford originally recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book as "Wadehelle", the wooded hill. It has been claimed that some Okell's may derive from the Icelandic "Ovalgil" or "Odkell" as in Oglethorpe, and this is possible, but not proven. The name has long been recorded especially in the London Area, examples include Thomas Okell of Westminster in 1605, John Okill at Aldgave in 1775, and the unusual Robert O'Kell, apparently a mistaken attempt to produce an Irish version also in London in 1782. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Martha OKell, which was dated August 1st, 1585, christened at St. Andrews by the Wardrobe, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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