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Voiles Coat of Arms / Voiles Family Crest

The surname of VOILES is a locational name meaning the dweller at the sign of the bird, one who hunted animals. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Almost every city, town or village existing in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. Where a man lived was his means of identification. When a man left his birthplace or village where he had been known, and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by the name of his former residence or birthplace, or by the name of the land which he owned. In the Middle Ages surnames were frequently taken from bird signs, although in many cases the meaning was as a dealer in such birds used for food. Although many of these animal and bird names sometimes came from shop or inn signs, some also have other derivations such as nicknames from a fancied resemblance to the creature depicted. The name has numerous variant spellings which include VOLLER, VOLLES, FOWLE, VOWELL, FOWLES, VOWELS, VOULS and FUGGLES. Early records of the name mention John le VOULERE, who was recorded in County Buckinghamshire in the year 1273 and Edward le VOYLES was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) in County Somerset. Edward VOLLER of Yorkshire appears in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379, and William VOLLERS of Lancashire was documented in the year 1400. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries.

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Last Updated: May 9, 2020

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