Recorded as Ragdale, Ragsdale, Ragsdall and possibly others, this is an English locational surname. It originates from Ragdale, given as being a hamlet in the county of Leicestershire, near the town of Melton Mowbray. Quite why Ragdale first mentioned in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as Ragendele, and implying the name of "moss valley" should be so-named is a mystery. "Dale" is a Viking word associated with North Yorkshire and perhaps the Peak District, but hardly the flat lands of Leicestershire.This is also a puzzle to the Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names, who suggest that it means a pass, but then go on to say that that is not a suitable explanation in this case! Locational surnames are usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people either because they were the local lords of the manor, or more usually because they left their original homestead and moved somewhere else. Spelling over the centuries being at best erratic, often lead to the creation of "sounds like" spellings. This surname however is well recorded in Leicestershire from at least Elizabethan times. Surviving early church register recordings include John Ragsdale of Bottesford, on January 6th 1596, and Agnes Ragdale of Redmile, on June 12th 1697.
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