Start your family tree now Is your surname Dale?
There are already 503 users and over 5,000 genealogy profiles with the Dale surname on Geni. Explore Dale genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

Dale Genealogy and Dale Family History Information

‹ Back to Surnames Index

Create your Family Tree.
Discover your Family History.

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!
view all


  • Agnes Dawney (1537 - 1616)
    Citing This Record"Pedigree Resource File", database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 2013-07-30), entry for Agnes.ChildrenRobert Dawney birth: 2 June 1571 death: 24 May 1644 Edward Dawney birth: death...
  • Agnes Goodwin Woolridge (1861 - 1907)
  • Ambjørn Trondson Dale (1628 - 1690)
    Nevnt i Bygdebok for Holm sokn bind 1 side 220.Skiftekort: SAT, Romsdal sorenskriveri, 3, 1677-1730, s. 399 Brukslenke for sidevisning:
  • Anita Morris (1943 - 1994)
    Anita Rose Morris (March 14, 1943 – March 2, 1994) was an American actress, singer and dancer. She began her career performing on Broadway musicals, include Jesus Christ Superstar, Seesaw and Nine, for...

About the Dale surname


Recorded in a number of spelling forms including Dale, Dales and Daile (English), Dahlen, Dahlin and Dalman (Swedish),Thal, Thalman, Dahler and Dallmann (German), Daal, Van Daal, Van Dalen and Daleman (Dutch), Dahl and Dall (Danish) and many others, this ancient surname is of residential origins.

It derives from the Scandanavian word dalr meaning a valley, and describes somebody who dwelt in such a place.

In England where the surname is first recorded, there was an ancient British tribe called the 'Dallingas', who may also be a source of the surname. 'Dalr' forms the first element in many English place names such as Deal, Dalwood, Dalham, and Dawley, although the more usual name style is as Lonsdale or Wensleydale, with 'dale' as the second element.

What is interesting is that the very first recording of the surname anywhere is in the county of Suffolk, in the region known as East Anglia, and here the land is renowned for being almost flat and without valleys, so there may have been an alternative meaning one thousand years ago!

The name is also a very early recording in Germany, Lutz up dem Tal being registered in the town of Fussen in the year 1370.

Scandanavian recordings are much later, hereditary surnames were the exception rather than the rule until the 18th century. The name was one of the very first in the new American Colonies, and certainly the first with status. Sir Thomas Dale (1560-1619) being Marshall of Virginia in 1609, and Governor from 1611 to 1618. Sir Thomas was responsible for the original land grants to the new settlers from the English Crown.

The first known recording of the family name in any form is believed to be that of Ralph de la Dale, which was dated 1275, in the 'Hundred Rolls' of the County of Suffolk. This was during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as 'The Hammer of the Scots', 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

The following is submitted by Andrew Dale:

The word “Dale” is referred to by different sources as originating from the Old Norse word “Dalr” meaning “valley” or “lowlands” and/or from the Anglo-Saxon word “Dael” with the same meaning. There is still a town in Norway called Dale (about 20 miles inland from Burgen) and also a well-known woollen goods manufacturer called Dale of Norway. There is also a town named Dale in Pembrokeshire (a very small area in Wales occupied by the Vikings) and it is tempting to surmise that a Viking from Dale in Norway settled there and named the town after his home town. There is still a Dale Castle in Dale that was controlled by the de Vale family from the 13th century – although the word “vale” could nowadays be used for dale/valley, the original meaning was “one who lived by a strong wall” referring to, for example, a castle wall and inferred the person was a warrior.

The Anglo-Saxon period of English history starts about 500 AD and finishes in 1066 AD although their influence in northern England started to diminish after the Vikings invaded late in the 8th century. “Anglo-Saxon” is the term used for the language now called Old English, spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendants in much of what is now England and some of southeastern Scotland. The Benedictine monk, Bede, writing in the early 8th century, identified the English as the descendants of three Germanic tribes:

The Angles, who may have come from Angeln (in modern Germany) occupying an area south west of the town of Flensburg which nowadays approximates to the province of Flensburg. Bede wrote that their whole nation came to Britain, leaving their former land empty. The name England (Old English: Engla land or Ængla land) originates from this tribe.

The Saxons, from Lower Saxony in modern Germany and the Low Countries just north of Hanover.

The Jutes, possibly from the Jutland peninsula (in modern Denmark). The Jutes were Scandinavian and so the Anglo-Saxon word Dael may itself have originated from the Old Norse word “Dalr”.

The extent of the Anglo-Saxon influence in the early 8th century is shown on the map with “England” divided into two main sections – Mercia and Northumbria (which stretches up to Edinburgh).

In the late 8th century the Vikings came over from Scandinavia and invaded North and East England and also the Orkneys, Shetland and Hebrides/West Scotland. The Orkney Saga, part of the great Icelandic Saga Collection, mentions Dale as being the home of Moddan, supposedly a nephew of Macbeth.

They also had two VERY small areas of settlement on South Wales, one being the very tip of the South Wales peninsula around Pembroke, and a small area around Cardiff. Some Vikings seem to have found their way to Southern Ireland and settled there.

The extent and rate of both Viking and Anglo-Saxon colonization are the subject of much academic debate (so it seems)..

The Norman invasion of 1066 swept away all Viking and Anglo-Saxon dominance.

Henry 1st (1068-1135) introduced a tax on the population but with around 1/3 of men called John, Robert or William some way had to be found to identify individuals. Professions and places of residence were used to define people and so Robert the Draper would become Robert Draper and William from the Dales would become William Dale. Not surprisingly more inventive first names soon became common due to the number of Robert Drapers and William Dales. The first known recording of the family name in any form is believed to be that of Ralph de la Dale (Ralph of the Dale) in the 'Hundred Rolls' of the County of Suffolk in 1275.

All the preceding suggests three potential origins of the surname Dale:

1: The Anglo-Saxon word Dael was used by people who lived in the areas they colonized to describe a dale/valley and later was adopted as a surname by people who lived there.

2: Vikings who originated in Dale, Norway who possibly named Dale, Pembrokeshire and people from the town later adopted their surname as the town they came from.

3: The Viking word Dalr was used by people who lived in the areas they colonized to describe a dale/valley and later was adopted as a surname by people who lived there.

Like the artisan word “Smith” adopted by so many people as their surname, it is unlikely that those with the surname “Dale” have any common origin in a single person or family. ………………………………………….


English family affiliated with Minot/Minott/Mynot/Mynott and Cage families