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Surname Wahl - Meaning and Origin

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Unraveling Ancestry: A Personal Journey through iGENEA DNA Test with the Wahl Family

The iGENEA DNA test enlightened me about my heritage, offering intriguing revelations about my Wahl ancestors, reshaping my self-perception and deepening my connection with my roots. The insights not only broadened my knowledge of my ancestry but also provided a newfound understanding of shared characteristics and behaviors.

G. Wahl

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Wahl: What does the surname Wahl mean?

The last name Wahl is of German origin and is derived from the Middle High German term "wahl" or "wahal," which translates to "voting" or "choice." This last name is most likely an occupational surname, specifically referring to someone whose job or profession involved the process of voting, completing oaths, or keeping records of elections. In German-speaking countries, the surname likely originates from several stratified professions, such as mayors, secretariats, and treasurers who kept records of taxes, tobacco, and mines or who maintained vivid monetary accounts.

The surname Wahl can also refer to a person who lived near a river or valley and was called "Wahlf," which was derived from the Middle English word “Waffe.” This Old English name referred to someone who lived alongside or near a stream and was subsequently placed near water for the purpose of voting on local issues, such as property taxes or zoning ordinances.

Wahl can also mean one who lived in or near a fiefdom or jurisdiction that was within an electoral system. This system was a form of political decentralization that provided local leaders with the autonomy to enact their own laws, manage resources, and determine community standards. The family likely originated from regions of Germany where this system of fiefdoms prevailed.

The last name Wahl is an ancient one, most likely associated with the original Germanic tribes and settlers. From powerful lords to small tradesmen, the name and its various forms have been passed down through the generations as a testament to the strength and resilience of Germany's people.

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Wahl: Where does the name Wahl come from?

The last name Wahl is most commonly found in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, but also in areas of North America with German-speaking populations, such as Canada and the United States. It has increased in popularity in the United States over the last few decades following the increased immigration of German families. During the 1900's, many German families emigrated to America and established small German-speaking communities, many of them bearing the name Wahl.

Today, the surname Wahl is most concentrated in the Midwestern states. According to census data collected in 2020, the largest concentration of the Wahl surname outside of Germany is in the United States, with about 15,000 people with the name primarily located in Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin and Indiana. The largest population of Wahl’s in the United States reside in the Chicago area, with smaller populations in Wisconsin and Iowa.

In addition to the Midwest U.S., the surname Wahl is also present in Canada in both its English and French-speaking populations. The surname is fairly common in the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario, and in the Maritime provinces.

The surname Wahl can also be found in areas of the United Kingdom, such as England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, with the most concentrated populations residing in North East England and Northern Ireland. With its growing presence in the United States and Canada, the surname Wahl is becoming increasingly common in other parts of the world.

Variations of the surname Wahl

The surname Wahl has numerous variants, spellings and surnames of the same origin. These variants can be classified into four main groups: German, American, Jewish and Flemish.

The most common German variants are Wal, Walle, Wall, Weil, Well, Wel, Weller, Wehler, Woy and Wohle. These variants are often found in areas formerly inhabited by German-speaking peoples, including Germany, Austria and parts of Switzerland.

In the United States, the most common spelling variants are Wahl, Welch, Walsh and Wallace. These variants are believed to have originated in the 1700s, when many German immigrants settled in the US.

The Jewish variants of Wahl are often spelled Vehl, Val, Weil, Wahowski, Wahlen, Walens, Walser, Welles and Walenski. These spellings were adopted by Jewish immigrants who moved to the US and other European countries in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The Flemish variant of Wahl is usually spelled Waal or Walle. This spelling is most commonly seen in the Netherlands and Belgium. In some cases, the spelling Waal can be seen in Germany as well.

Regardless of spelling or origin, all of these variants of the surname Wahl can be traced back to a common ancestor, often making them interchangeable.

Famous people with the name Wahl

  • Fredrik Wahl: Norwegian musician, actor, singer, and songwriter
  • Oskar Wahl: Swedish Social Democratic Party member and Member of Parliament
  • Tim Wahl: American drummer
  • Steve Wahl: American NFL defensive end
  • Rosemary Wahl: American filmmaker
  • Peter Wahl: German economist and politician
  • David Wahl: American actor and stand-up comedian
  • Leopold Wahl: Austrian painter
  • Penelope Wahl: American writer and journalist
  • DeonWahl: American mixed martial arts fighter
  • Marlon Wahl: American comedian and actor
  • Polly Wahl: American actress
  • Simon Wahl: New Zealand entrepreneur and telecom innovator
  • Einar Wahl: Norwegian educator and politician
  • Elaine Wahl: American judge and attorney

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