This Dutch surname of VAN TUYL was an occupational name for a toll-taker or tax gatherer, originally derived from the Old English word TOLN, and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form TOLEONEUM. The name has numerous variant spellings which include TOLLER, TOWLAND, TOWLER, TOLLNER, Van den TOL, ZOLLMAN, ZOLMAN and ZOLNER. The Dutch language is most closely related to Low German, and its surnames have been influenced both by German and French naming practices. The preposition 'van' is found especially with habitation names, and the 'de' mainly with nicknames. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. A notable member of the name was Ernst TOLLER (1863-1959) the German-Jewish poet and playwright, born in Samotschin. His expressionist plays include 'Masse Mensch' (translated in 1923). He also wrote poetry and the autobiographical 'Eine Jugend in Deutschland' (1933). Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization.
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