This unusual and interesting name is the English patronymic (son of) form of the name "Vitale", itself of Italian origin. The derivation is from the Latin "Vitalis", and the Olde French, "Viel", meaning pertaining to life, vital. The name was popular with christians, as a symbol of their belief in eternal life, and was borne by a dozen early saints. It was also common in England after the Norman Conquest (1066) in its learned form "Vitalis" and its Northern French form "Viel". One Rachel Vials married Thomas Kelsby on 11th December 1749 at St. Mary's, St. Marylebone Road, London. A Coat of Arms was granted in Geneva, Switzerland to this distinguished family and has the blazon a blue shield, thereon two lions passant argent overall a gold bend. The crest being griffin (dragon) rampant ore. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Viel, which was dated 1194, in the Pipe Rolls of Devonshire, during the reign of King Richard l, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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