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BALKWILL Family History

This unusual and interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from some minor place in Devonshire, where the surname is most prevalent. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century 'balca', beam, with 'wiell(a)', spring and stream, and probably refers to a primitive foot bridge made by a tree trunk across the stream. The name may also be topographical for a dweller by the footbridge. In the modern idiom the variant forms include, Balkwell, Balkwall and Balkwel. During the Middle Ages, when it became usual for people to move away from the birthplace, often to seek work, they would often adopt the placename as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name.

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