Recorded originally in Germany as Vogil and Fogel, and in England as Fugel and Foul, this interesting surname is of both Anglo-Saxon and Olde English pre 7th century origins. It derives from the word "fugol", meaning bird, and in ancient times this was a personal name of endearment. It is first recorded in the Winton Rolls of Hampshire, England, in 1086, and as a surname in 12th Century in England and in 13th century Switzerland and Germany, as shown below. In medieval times, the word as "fugel" was also used as a nickname for someone who was in some way believed either to physically resemble a bird, or to have the characteristics associated with one. The modern surname has many forms, ranging in England from: Gowle, Fowell, Fuggle, and Vowell, to the patronymics Fowles, Vowells, Vouls and Fuggles. In Germany the spellings include Vogel, Vogl, Vogler, Vogeller, and diminutives Vogele, Vogelein and Vogelin. Early examples of the name recording are those of Heinrich Vogil of Zurich, Switzerland, in the year 1230, Nicholas le Fowel of Worcestershire, England, in 1275, and Konrad Fogel of Eblingen, Germany, in 1297. The first recorded spelling of the surname is believed to be that of Wuluard Fugel. This was dated 1166, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Kent, England. Throughout the centuries surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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