This unusual surname was developed from the German (male) personal name 'Wenzel', a diminutive form of the German given name 'Wenze', with the diminutive suffix '-el'. The origin of the personal name is Czechoslovakian, 'Wenze' being a borrowed form of the Old Czech personal name 'Veceslav', in modern Czech 'Vaclav', which in its Anglicized form is 'Wenceslas'. The name is composed of the elements 'vece', greater, and 'slav', glory, and was borne by a 10th Century duke of bohemia who fought against a revival of paganism in this territory, and after his death became patron saint of Bohemia. There are a number of variants of the name 'Wenzel(l)', such as 'Wentzel', 'Wanzel', and 'Fenzl', and the patronymic (son of Wenzel), 'Wen(t)zler'. One Christopher Wenzel married Elisabeth Braks at Spitalfields, Christchurch (London) in January 1780. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Wenzell (marriage to Elisabeth Pope), which was dated April 27th 1766, St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London, during the reign of King George 111, 'Farmer George', 1760 - 1820. 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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