This rare and interesting name is of medieval French origin, and is a variant of a double diminutive form of the topographical surname Rive, created from the Old French term "rive", bank, shore, with the diminutive suffixes "-el" and "-in". The surname originally denoted someone who lived on the bank of a river or the shore of a lake, and is one of that group of early European surnames that were adopted from conspicuous features in the landscape, whether natural or man-made, which could provide easy identification in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The particular forms of the surname from this source, identified as double diminutives, and found in forms ranging from Riveland, Rival(l)and and Reveland, to Rivelon, Rivelin and Rival(l)ant, are to be found mainly in the Brittany and Anjou regions of France, and also in the south western counties of England, particularly Devon and Cornwall, reflecting their shared Celtic traditions. Examples of the surname from these areas include: Francis Ryvallan (Plymouth, Devon, 1596); Louis Riverlin (Angers, Maine-et-Loire, France, 1643); Claudius, son of John Riveland, christened at Callington, Cornwall, on August 24th 1699; and Guillaume Rivoallant, born on August 27th 1758, in Gondelin, Cotes-du-Nord, France. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richorde Reveland, which was dated April 19th 1596, marriage to John (Joan) Kennaway, at Brixham, Devonshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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