This interesting surname derives ultimately from the Hebrew male personal name "Daniel",
which means "God is my judge", and was born by one of the most important prophets in the Bible.
The name did not appear in England before the Conquest of 1066, suggesting that it was introduced by the Normans as both a given name and a surname.
"Daniel" was a very popular personal name throughout medieval Europe, due largely to the dramatic story contained in the biblical "Book of Daniel", recounting the prophet’s steadfast adherence to his religious faith in spite of pressure and persecution from the Mesopotamian kings in whose court he served: Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar (at whose feast Daniel interpreted the mysterious message of doom that appeared on the wall, being thrown to the lions for his pains).
and also to the fame of a 2nd Century Christian martyr and a 9th Century hermit, legends of whose life were popular during the Middle Ages among Christians, these had a minor additional influence on the adoption of the Christian name. Among Orthodox Christians in Eastern Europe the name was also popular as being that of a 4th-century Persian martyr,
who was venerated in the Orthodox Church.
The surnames generated by "Daniel" are numerous, ranging from Daniel(l), Danniel(l), Danell, Dannel(l), Dennel(l) and Denial, to the patronymic forms Daniel(l)s and Danels.
In November 1644, Ann Daniels married William Furnas, at St. Katherine by the Tower, and Elizabeth Daniels married Richard Foster, on July 23rd 1644, in Putney, London.
The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Daniel, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book, Sussex, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087.
The name has in some cases been adopted in Ireland as the representative of the native names, Donall or Donald and Donagh, among others.
Contributed by on 2010-07-31 03:44:51