This is an ancient Italian surname, but long recorded in England in its various spellings. Recorded as Vida, Vita, Vido, Vito, Viti, Vidoni, and many other forms including the English Vial, Vidal, Vital, etc. it derives from the original Roman-Latin 'vita' or 'vitalis' meaning 'life', and was used as a personal name in the pre 10th century, before the development of surnames. In the medieval period and during the development of surnames, the name was extremely popular, and in its many forms was recorded in almost every European country. Unfortunately the registers in Italy are at best scanty and at worst non existent. This is because Italy did not become a unified state until 1860, and prior to that date the keeping of records was not a priority amongst most of twenty or so individual principalities. Curiously though in this case we have a very early recording in England, when Maria Vido, the daughter of Johannis and Elizabeth Vido, was christened at the famous church of St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on February 21st 1676. This date would suggest that perhaps Johannis Vido was either a Huguenot protestant refugee, or perhaps a former citizen of Venice, as it was in this Italian city-state that the coat of arms was granted. This has the blazon of per pale gold and blue, overall a red rose. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Vitalis abbode, which was dated 1076, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles for the county of Essex, during the reign of King William I, known as 'The Conqueror', 1066-1087. 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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