The associated coat of arms for this name are recorded in J.B Rietstaps Armorial General. Illustrated by V & H.V Rolland's. This Monumental work took 23 years to complete and 85,000 coats of Arms are included in this work. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. 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. The surname of GAVEL is of two-fold origin. It was a nickname for a hawklike person, originally derived from the Spanish word GAVILAN (sparrowhawk). GAVILAN was used in the Middle Ages as a given name. In the 8th century, Spain fell under the control of the Moors, and this influence, which lasted into the 12th century, has also left its mark on Hispanic surnames. A few names are based directly on Arabic personal names. The majority of Spanish occupational and nickname surnames, however, are based on ordinary Spanish derivatives. The name is also spelt GAVILA. It is also a locational name for one who came from GAVLE, a seaport in eastern Sweden, on an inlet of the Gulf of Bothnia. Ice free for nine months of the year, it exports timber, wood pulp and paper. During the Reformation, Switzerland was not affected by the religious strife that devastated most of Europe; cities such as Geneva were in the middle of the Reformation and John Calvin became prominent as a Protestant reformer, founding Protestantism. Many people of Swiss origin emigrated from there to seek their fortune in other parts of the world. In the United States they particularly populated the states of Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Texas and California.
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