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Dalyell Surname Origin

(Origin Gaelic) Locality Taken from the parish of Dalziel, in Lanarkshire, Scotland. The parish is said to have received its name from the old parish church which stood near the Clyde, which was probably so called from Dal, a dale or valley, and cille, a church--the church in the valley. There is the following tradition, told by Nisbet, of the origin of the name: "A favorite of Kenneth II. having been hanged by the Picts, and the King being much concerned that the body should be exposed in so disgraceful a situation, offered a large reward to him who should rescue it. This being an enterprise of great danger, no one was found bold enough to undertake it, till a gentleman came to the king, and said, Dalziel, that is, 'I dare.' In memory of this circumstance his descendants assumed for their arms a man hanging on a gallows, and the motto 'I dare.'" The Dalziels afterward became Earls of Carnwath. Unfortunately, there is no such word as Dalziel in either the Gaelic or Celtic, which signifies "I dare." The name is local, as given above.

Source: An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names With an Essay on their Derivation and Import; Arthur, William, M.A.; New York, NY: Sheldon, Blake, Bleeker & CO., 1857.

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