This surname of POVALL, also spelt POVALO is of Russian origin. This family is descended from ancient Polish nobility, the forebears of which were granted privileges by Polish Kings. After the capture of the City of Smolensk by the Russians, Vladimir Ivanocich Shvyikovsky departed from Poland for the City of Smolensk to serve Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich. He served in the Smolensk Regiment of Nobility as a Major General and for his service in 1568 and in other years he was granted fiefdoms. His descendants who took upon themselves the name POVALO served the Russian Throne as Stolniks and in other distinguishing positions. Heraldry appeared later in Russia than in most other Western European countries. It is generally agreed that it was copied from the west sometime in the late 17th century, and quickly achieved state significance. In 1722 Emperor Peter I (The Great) established an official Heraldry Office headed by a Master of Heraldry under the jurisdiction of the Senate. The eagle depicted in the arms is emblematical of fortitude and magnaminity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. They were not in use in England or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour.
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