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Surname Vail - Meaning and Origin

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Exploring the genetic roots of my family lineage led to the unexpected discovery of Norwegian ancestry in my predominately English history. iGENEA's DNA test afforded me with insights that reshaped my understanding of my own identity.

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Vail: What does the surname Vail mean?

The last name Vail is of English origin and is derived from the Old French word "val", meaning "valley". It was typically given as a topographic name for someone who lived in a valley or as a habitational name from various places named with this word, for example Vaux in Normandy. Vail has several spelling variations including Vale, Vayle, Veyl, Veale, etc. The name was first recorded in the late 12th century and became quite popular in counties Suffolk, Surrey, and Sussex in England. It was brought to America by English settlers during the era of colonization. Today, it can be found in various parts of the world as a result of migration over the centuries. Please note that last names can have multiple origins and meanings in different cultures and languages.

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Vail: Where does the name Vail come from?

The last name Vail is most common in the United States today. It is used throughout the entire country, but is more common in certain areas. For example, the Vail surname is more common in the Northeast and Pennsylvania. It is also quite popular in the South, particularly in Texas. In total, it is believed that there are approximately 40,000 people with the Vail name in the United States alone.

In other countries around the world, the Vail surname is not nearly as common. It does, however, exist in many other countries, including Canada, Australia, England, Scotland, and France. Additionally, the last name Vail is also found in Italy, Germany, Spain, and Portugal.

As to its origin, the Vail surname can be traced back to a variety of locations. It can attest to a Norman French origin, as the Vail surname was used by the Norman invaders of England in 1066. The Vail name can also be traced to Old English origins, derived from the word “veil”, which translated into “stranger or visitor”. Others with the Vail name can trace it back to Dutch roots, more specifically to the Flemish region, where the name evolved from "Velman" and "Velleman".

Overall, the Vail surname is most popular in the United States, but can also be found in other countries around the world. Despite its many origins, the Vail name is typically attributed to Norman French and Old English roots.

Variations of the surname Vail

Variants, spellings and surnames of the same origin as Vail are Veale, Vayle, Vayl, Vale, Vaile, Veal, Vel and Vaille.

Vail is an English and Scottish surname of Norman origin. It is derived from the Old French ‘val’, meaning valley. In the Norman dialect ‘val’ was pronounced ‘va’ and it is likely that this is how the modern spelling came about.

In England, the name is mostly found in Norfolk, with Cornwall and Shropshire being other common locations for the surname.

The Veale spelling is often found in Ireland, as this is the phonetic spelling used by most English speakers. The expected spelling in Ireland is Veale, but variations are also found, such as Vayle and Vayl.

The family can be found in both Ulster and the Republic of Ireland, with the Vale spelling being predominant in the Republic.

The Vaile spelling is mainly found in Scotland and is derived from the Old French ‘vallée’. It is likely that the earliest settlement of the Vail family was in Scotland.

The Veal spelling is most commonly found in the west Midlands, while the Vaille variant is most common in Wales.

So the surnames Vail, Veale, Vayle, Vayl, Vale, Vaile, Veal, Vel and Vaille are all linked and have a shared Norman-French origin.

Famous people with the name Vail

  • Brad Vail: Brad Vail is a Canadian professional hockey player who plays for the Hamilton Bulldogs. He has also played for the Toronto Marlies, Arizona Coyotes, and the Chicago Wolves.
  • Stacey Vail: Stacey Vail is an American voice actor and singer known for her work in video games such as Overwatch, Street Fighter V, Heroes of the Storm, and Super Smash Bros.
  • Robert Vail: Robert Vail is a renowned American businessman and entrepreneur. He founded the Robert L. Vail Company, which is a global supplier of aviation parts.
  • Kit Vail: Kit Vail is an American actor, best known for his role as Ryan in the 2015 film The Perfect Guy.
  • Brenda Vail: Brenda Vail is an American former professional tennis player, who won two singles titles and one doubles title on the Women's Tennis Association tour in her career.
  • Michael Vail: Michael Vail is an American country-western singer, songwriter, and musician, best known for his hit single "Do You Believe".
  • James Vail: James Vail is an American singer and songwriter, who rose to fame with his single "Monkey" in 2009.
  • Joe Vail: Joe Vail is an American actor, best known for his roles in the television series The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Futurama.
  • George Vail: George Vail was an American inventor, best known for his invention of the Vail typewriter in 1868.
  • Amro Vail: Amro Vail is an American actor, best known for his role in the television series Big Love.

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