This surname was a French, Spanish, Italian German and British name of Celtic origin meaning foreigner or stranger. The name was rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form GALLUS, which was widespread in Europe during the Middle Ages. Its popularity was due to the fame of a 7th century Irish monk, St. Gall (apparently from the Latin family name GALLUS). He established a Christian settlement to the south of Lake Constance, which became the monastery later known as St. Gall. His given name was taken into Czechoslovakia as HAVEL and into Poland as GAWEL. The name has travelled widely in many forms which include GAUL, GAW, LE GALL, KALA, KALAUS, GALLASCH, HALEK and HALIK, to name but a few. 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 surnames as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European counties. Early instances of the name in England include Julyan Gawle, who was buried at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in the year 1550, and David Gall and Ann Risbridger were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1758. A notable bearer of the name was Johann Gottreid Galle (1812-1910) the German astronomer born in Pabsthaus, near Wittenberg. In 1846 he discovered the planet Neptune, whose existence had already been postulated in earlier calculations. From 1851 until 1857 he was the director of the Breslau observatory. 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.
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