The surname of GABEL was a baptismal name 'the son of Gabriel'. The name was popularly Gabel, although rare in early registers. This name was borne by an archangel in the Bible, who in the New Testament, announced the impending birth of Jesus, to the Virgin Mary. It has been a comparatively popular given name in all parts of Europe, among both Christians and Jews, during the Middle Ages and since. In Russia its acceptability was improved by the fact that it was the official name of St. Vsevolod who died in 1138. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monastries, gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. 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 draped and flowing garment worn over the armour.
Early documents mention Gabriel Attelone, 1273 County Kent and Nicholas Gabriele was recorded in the year 1296 in County Sussex. Thomas Gabriel of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Baptised. Gabella Tans, St. Peter, Cornhill, London in 1539. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
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