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Gravel Coat of Arms / Gravel Family Crest

Gravel Coat of Arms / Gravel Family Crest

The surname of GRAVEL is an English, Swiss, French and Low German surname of various origins. It was a status name meaning count or magistrate, originally derived from the Old German word GRAVIO, a title denoting various more or less aristocratic dignitaries and officials. In later times it became established as a title of nobility equivalent to the title COUNT. In the Grand Duchy of Hesse, for example it was used for the holder of the comparatively humble office of village headsman, and the name could have originated from any of these senses. It was also a topographic name for someone who lived on a patch of gravelly soil or a habitation name for one who lived near a grove or wooded area. The name has numerous variant spellings which include GRAF, GRAEF, GRAVIER, GRAVELING, GRAVE and GRAVESTON, to name but a few. A family of Swiss emigrants by the name of GRAEFF formed a portion of a colony of thirteen families that settled in Pequea Valley, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania as early as 1702. A descendant of one of the families was David GRAEFF, who was born on February 18th, 1821. He worked in Columbia as a machinist. His term of apprenticeship covered a period of five years, two months and twenty-six days and in consideration of his services he received the sum of ten pounds and was given the privilege of attending school for sixteen months. In April 1st, 1850 he moved to Columbia and established a brass foundry. Three years later he accepted a position in a machine shop, but within a few years returned to his first employer and remained in service there until January 1st 1900. 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: Dec. 1st, 2021

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