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Yale Coat of Arms / Yale Family Crest

The associated coat of arms for this name are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered in Plas-yn-Yale, County Denbigh. This surname of YALE is a Welsh habitation name for someone who lived in the Commote of IDAL, near Wrexham, North Wales. The name was derived from the Welsh word IAL, meaning fertile or arable upland. 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. YALE University in America, takes its name from an early benefactor, Elihu YALE (1649-1721) an American merchant of Welsh ancestry. He was born in Boston into a family who originated in Wrexham, Wales; his father, David YALE, had settled in New Hampshire in 1637. The YALE lock was invented by Linus YALE (1821-68) ultimately a member of the same family. He was born in Salisbury, New York, descended from Thomas YALE, who settled in New Hampshire in 1637, a brother of David. 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. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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