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Surname Vails - Meaning and Origin

all surnames with 'V'

Vails: What does the surname Vails mean?

The surname Vails is thought to have originated from old French, possibly deriving from the term "val" or "vallis" which means valley. It may have been used to describe someone who lived in or near a valley. Like many surnames, it is likely to be topographical, influenced by the geographic features of the landscape where the name's original bearer lived or held land. Please note that surname meanings can change significantly over generations and across different cultures, often adapting to local languages and dialects. Although this could be an accepted interpretation, the exact meaning and origin largely depend on the family's personal history and evolution of the surname. To get a definitive understanding of your surname and its origin, genealogical research would be necessary.

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Vails: Where does the name Vails come from?

The last name Vails is most commonly found in the United States. In the most recent US census, approximately 1,600 individuals reported having the last name Vails. Analysis of the census data revealed that the highest concentration of the Vails surname was primarily located in the states of Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont and New York.

The roots of the Vails family name can be traced back to the Middle Ages. It likely derived from the Old French word used to describe a wall or fence that would protect a landholding or property. As such, the surname belonged to families with wealth and landed properties.

In 2015, the highest concentrations of Vails families resided in Massachusetts and Maine. Specifically, there were 241 families reported in Massachusetts while Maine had 191. Massachusetts was the American state with the highest amount of Vails families, while Maine, Connecticut, and Vermont followed closely behind. Other states with sizable Vails populations included Rhode Island, California and South Carolina.

For those with the last name Vails, genealogical records indicate that many of its earliest bearers and their ancestors were located in New England, originating from English and French backgrounds. Today, the Vails family name can still be found in the areas of the Northeast, where many of the original immigrants settled centuries ago.

Variations of the surname Vails

The surname Vails has several variants, spellings, and derivative surnames. Variations of the surname Vails include Vail, Vale, Vaile, Vayle, Vawle, and Vawles. It is also found as the surnames Virtue and Vertue. All of these were derived from the Old French word, Val, meaning valley or dale.

The surname Vails dates back to the 11th century, when it is found in the Domesday books during the reign of William I. It can be found in the form Vela, which was a short form of the given name Gervase.

The hundreds of Manors and scattered settlements throughout England, Wales and Scotland popularized the surname Vails. Vase, Vaile, and Vale were all found in England, while Vail, Vayle, and Vawles all trace to Scotland and Ireland.

In America, the spelling Vails was brought by English settlers around the 16th century. Variations of the surname like Vail, Vale and Vaile became more common as families immigrated to the US from England, Scotland, and Ireland. Vaile is an especially common variation in the US.

Thus the spellings of Vails, Vail, Vaile, Vale, Vayle, Vawle, and Vawles, as well as surnames of Virtue and Vertue are all found under the umbrella of the surname Vails. These variations have been passed down from generation to generation, carried across borders and oceans until they arrived at our own doorstep in all their varied glory.

Famous people with the name Vails

  • Timothy Vails: Timothy Vails is an American actor who has appeared in a variety of television shows and films including The Big C and Brain Dead.
  • Jessica Vails: Jessica Vails is an American actress who is known for her roles in the films X-Men: Genesis and So I Married an Axe Murderer.
  • Mia Vails: Mia Vails is a British actress who is best known for her roles in the television series Titanic Town and Coronation Street.
  • Jesse Vails: Jesse Vails is an American singer-songwriter who is best known for his work with the band The Refreshments.
  • Cindy Vail: Cindy Vail is an American science fiction and horror author who has written multiple books including The Common Space and Bumps & Nightmares.
  • Walter Vail: Walter Vail was an American rancher who was one of the largest landowners in the Imperial Valley in California.
  • Matt Vail: Matt Vail is an American professional football player who is currently a free safety for the Los Angeles Chargers.
  • Robert Vail: Robert Vail is an American actor who is best known for his roles in the films Big Trouble in Little China and The Labyrinth.
  • Grace Vail: Grace Vail is an American writer and artist who has written a variety of books and comics such as Star Blazer and Dark Knight Rising.

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