Recorded in a number of spellings including Oldale, Oldall, Holdall, Auldel and Ouldale, this is an English surname. It is clearly locational, and probably originates from a place called Old Hall of which there are a number of examples in the counties of Essex, Westmoreland, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Oxfordshire. These all refer to original manor houses that in the period between the 15th and 18th centuries were largely replaced by more imposing buildings, in some cases the "Old Hall" was divided up and used as a number of dwellings, thereby creating a "new" village. Locational surnames pose particular problems. They are usually "from" names, which is to say names given for identification when a person moved from their original homestead, to somewhere else. Spelling over the centuries being at best erratic, and local accents very thick, lead to the development of "sounds like" spellings. It is very unlikely that the name has anything to do with a dale or even less ale, neither of which make any sense when prefixed with "Old". Early examples of the surname recording include those of Annis Oldale who married Thomas Cooke at Twickenham, on August 5th 1581, and Robert Ouldale, who married Agnes Lucas, at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on December 19th 1609.
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