This is an unusual ethnic name for someone from Portugal. The name derives from late Latin "Portucale" originally referring only to the area around the trading base of Oporto (Portus Cales, from the Latin "Portus", a port, harbour, and "Cales" the ancient name for the town). The Middle English 13th Century spelling for Portugal was Portingale. The name may have been a nickname for one who had business connections with the place. The variants include Pettingall, Pettingill, Pettengell, Puttergill. One Hannah Portingale married John Ferre at St. Alphege, Canterbury, Kent in 1725. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walterus Filius Portingalliae, which was dated 1201, in the "Kings Rolls of Suffolk", 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.

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