- This unusual surname is a medieval and principally East Anglian dialectal variant of the original hebrew personal name "Michael". The name in any form is not found in Britain before the 1066 Norman Conquest, but gained quickley in popularity during the 11th and 12th century crusades. Certainly the earliest form was the French "Michel", a style which has survived in England as Michell or Mitchell. The original meaning in the hebrew was "He who is like God", a meaning which no doubt greatly assisted its spread of popularity. Certainly from the earliest times the name developed many local forms which include Myall, Miell, Male, Miall, Mayhill, Myhill and Mialle etc. Examples of the recordings include John Mihell in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk in 1524, Sara Myhall, christened at St. Brides Church, Fleet Street, London on April 1st 1645, Jacques Mialle, a huguenot, at Glasshouse Street French Church on April 19th 1713, and John Myall, who married Hannah Smith at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk on December 27th 1750. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Michil, which was dated 1202, in the "Curia Regis Rolls" of Warwickshire, during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland" 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.