This interesting surname, found in both England and Scotland with variant spellings Youle, Youles, Youll, Yoell, and Yule, derives from the Olde English "geol", Christmastide (Middle English "yule") or the Old Norse "jol", also meaning Christmas or Yuletide. Hence the surname may perhaps have been a nickname for one born at Christmastime or who had some other connection with this time of year. This may have been the only way of distinguishing one person from another in the same family or village. The surname first appears in records in the late 12th Century (see below) and is first recorded in Scottish records in 1374, when Johannes Yhole, burgess of Haddington appears in the Calendar of writs preserved at Yester house, 1166 - 1503. Robert Youle was mentioned in the Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire in 1379. John Yhule one of the "appretiatores carnium" in Aberdeen in 1398, appears in 1400 and 1401 as bailie and burgess of the same city. John Yule was an officer in Stirling in 1551, and one Thomas Zule was maltman there in 1577. Ann, daughter of Lyon and Ann Youel was christened at St. Botolph without Aldgate, London on November 16th 1746. Sir Henry Yule (1820 - 1889) was a most distinguished military engineer and Orientalist. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Yol, which was dated 1199, in the "Pile Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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