This is a topographical name of two possible origins. The first is Anglo-Saxon pre 10th Century and a developed form of "whit" (white) plus "hyl" - a hillside, and found in the Gloucester villages of Whiteshill near Bristol and Stroud. The second possibility is as an "Anglicized" form of the German "Weitzel" or "Wetzal" which translates literally as "the broad place" referring to a widefield. In these latter spellings the name would appear to be firstly Huguenot, or at least from the Huguenot - Hanoverian period the second early Victorian and probably of refugee status. The name recordings include (English) John Whitesall christened on February 10th 1705 at St. Giles Cripplegate and (German) John Wetzel who married Mary Anthony at St. Martins in the Field, Westminster on July 22nd 1754, and Edward Weitzel who was christened at St. Pancras Old Church, on February 8th 1849. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Whitsle, which was dated November 29th 1659, christened at the church of St. Katherine by the Tower, London, during the reign of Richard Cromwell, "the Lord Protector", 1658 - 1659. 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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