Recorded as Upsale, Upsall, Ubsdall, Ubsdell, and others, this rare surname is English but of Viking origins. It is either locational from a place called Upsall as shown below, or topographical for someone who lived in a homestead that was above the neighbouring dwellings. The origination s from the pre 7th Century Old Scandanavian word 'uppe', meaning above, with the suffix 'salr', a hall or dwelling. As a locational name it could be from either or both the two Upsall villages in the county of North Yorkshire, and first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, as Upsale and Upesale, respectively.Topographical and locational surnames were often some of the earliest to be created, as features in the countryside, whether natural or man-made, provided obvious and convenient means of identification. Examples of the surname recordings from surviving church registers of the city of London include Isaac Upshall at St Leonards Shoreditch, on April 8th 1759, and Francis Ubsdell at St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, on November 25th 1810. 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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