Although we cannot provide absolute proof on the origin of this name, in so far as precisely when it came into England, we are satisfied as to its general background. It derives from the German U(e)bel or the French Huguenot Ubald, and is a nickname surname for an obstinate person! In fact the strict 13th century meaning was "evil and wicked" however logic suggests that the name carried a different interpretation to the people of those days, who were known for their lusty (and often lewd), sense of humour. The recordings in England are both rare and erratic, and it may well be that many modern descendants of the original immigrants have their name concealed, either deliberately or otherwise, under a cloak of anglicised spellings. Given the many occasions in the past five centuries when to have a French or German surname in England,would have provoked physical danger, that is not surprising. Examples of the surname include George Uebel, a witness at the christening of his son Hans Michel, at Jagstkreis, Wuertt, Germany on July 1st 1652, whilst in England the registers include Sarah Ubell who married William Denton at Sheffield Cathedral on October 17th 1766, and Samuel and Mary Uhbell, christening witnesses at St Leonards Church, Shoreditch on September 30th 1839. The Coat of Arms granted by Prussia, is quartered blue and white, overall a red bend, charged with three gold knights spurs. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hans Ubel, which was dated June 22nd 1640, married Barbara Wiesent, at Oberfranken, Bayern, Germany, during the reign of Emperor Leopold 111, of the German Empire, 1637 - 1658. 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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