This most interesting and unusual surname is of Old Swedish origin, and is an ornamental name from the Swedish "wall, vall", a grassy bank, pasture or grazing ground, perhaps adopted in some cases as a topographic name for a dweller on or by a fallow field or grassy bank. Ornamental or arbitrary surnames constitute the most numerous class of Swedish surnames, and are derived mainly from vocabulary elements denoting natural phenomena and features of the landscape and seascape, words which denote aspects of the world which are held dear by Swedes of all classes and regions; names such as "Lund", grove, "Gren", branch, and "Sjo", sea. Often they are indistinguishable from topographic names, thus it is impossible to know if the bearer of the surname "Wallen" actually chose it because he lived on a grassy bank or because he just had an affinity for the name. Most Swedes did not adopt hereditary surnames until the 18th Century, hence they are recorded later. Thomas Wallen was christened on January 27th 1566, at St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, London. Recordings in Swedish Church Registers include the marriage of Olof Wallin and Karin Olsdr on October 4th 1708, at Ofwansjo, Gavleborg, and the marriage of Jons Wallen to Karin Nilsdr on December 28th 1858, at Rengsjo, Gavleborg. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elizabeth Wallyn, which was dated June 20th 1541, christened at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Good King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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