This unusual surname is of French origin and is a topographical name for someone who lived near a narrow channel of water with a strong current, for example a mill race. The derivation is from the French\Breton word "raz", a race or current, a word that occurs in similar form in Middle German, (Ras), Old Norse, (Ras), and Old English pre 7th Century (Raes). It is interesting to note that this name appears in French records later than in England (probably due to the general tendency of later records in France) as "Rasle" in 1700, although subsequent records appear as "Razle" or "Razel", and are generally found in the Meurthe-et-Moselle region. Among the recordings in London is the marriage of James Razzell and Elizabeth Tube on September 11th 1836 at Old Church, St. Pancras, and in Woolice, Kent the christening of Rose Hannah Razzell on September 1870. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jane Razall (marriage to Robert Ellis), which was dated June 30th 1638, Canterbury, Kent, during the reign of King Charles 1, "The Martyr", 1625 - 1649. 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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