Recorded as Trail and Traill, this is a Scottish surname of some history and minor nobility. The origin is uncertain, but the name is believed to be locational from a now 'lost' village believed to have been in the far north of the country, and possibly Caithness. There are several branches of the family, including the Traills of Orkney and Shetland, and those of Castlehill and Rattar in Caithness, although it is said that most if not all, are linked with and originate from, the Traills of Blebo, in Fifeshire. The derivation of the place name and hence the surname is almost certainly from the ancient Gaelic, and maybe even from a small river called Abhainn Traill, which flows into Loch Torridon. At various times the surname has been spelt Trayle, Traill, Trail, Thrale, Trayl, Treyl, and Treyle. The first recording is believed to be that of Thomas Trayle, who was recorded as being the canon of Aberdeen in the year 1366, whilst Walter Trail, also recorded as Walter Treyle, was the bishop of St. Andrews in 1385. Sir Thomas Traell, recorded as being a 'Knight of Scotland' was given safe conduct to travel to the court in London, apparently on diplomatic business, whilst in 1408 Johannes Trayle was elected the sergeant of Aberdeen, a post similar to that of sheriff, but apparently with specific responsibilities for the watch and defence of the city.
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