Please Note:We are not suggesting that there is a genuine link between the various supposed versions of our surname. We are simply pointing out that our research confirms these links to be remotely possible.
WHERE DID THE SURNANE KAUL ORIGINATE?
The present day surname KAUL is most frequently found in German speaking Europe, in countries such as Germany, Austria and parts of Switzerland. There is a sizable population of Kauls in North America, where the US Census finds them 0.001% or a percentile of 72,892.
Kaul of German origin
Although it may not have originated there, KAUL is a surname more often found in Germany. There are at least three examples of the beginnings of our surname in Germany.
(1) It is derived from the Middle-Low German word "kule" meaning pit, cave, grotto or mine. Firstly, the name may be occupational, that is derived from the trade or profession of the initial bearer. It is also possible that the name is of local origin, denoting "one who lived at or near a mine.
(2) Another research source suggests that the name is occupational, associated with the German meaning for "one who operates a small workshop". Or is it possible? "Small workshop by or near a mine".
(3) Another possible root is the Dutch word "kaul", meaning monks hood. In other European languages the meaning of the word "kaul" is head or cabbage head.
In German speaking Europe one of the earliest records of our surname dates back to the fourteenth century, where in the year 1348 a certain Konrad von der Kaulen resided at Bisen in now Luxemburg. A 1446 record in the Lower Saxony archives shows Cord Kaul and Henningh Kaul both residing at town of Duderstadt. Some spelling variants of the name include Caul, Caudl, Cauhl, Kauhl, Kaula, Kaulen, Kaulbach and Kaulman.
Kaul of Irish origin
The Kaul family of Ireland trace their ancestors back to between the eleventh and twelfth centuries. According to Irish researchers the name KAUL first appears in the ancient medieval records of county Mayo. These records claim that from very early times the KAUL family held lands and estates in Ireland and were actively allied with other influential families.
Gleaning through the various county Mayo internet sources we find bits of information that suggest that the Irish root of our KAUL surname may be COLUM-CILLE, the priest and prince who was to become revered as Saint Columbia. Those who subscribed to the priest's teachings would have been dubbed "Followers of Colum-Cille", which in turn would have hatched the handle "Cille", which evolved into a family name with spelling variations such as MacCeile, McCale, MacCaul, MacHail, McHale and more.
Kaul of English origin
According to English researchers the surname KAUL is from the old French word "Cale", meaning the maker of a woman's headdress. This suggests the name is of occupational origin. The now English name "Cale or Calle" is dangerously close to the Irish "Cille" from "Colum-Cille". Because of this similarity we are almost certain that amongst the numbers of Norman settlers of the English landscape were "Followers of Colum-Cille".
William the Conqueror's Doomsday Book of 1086 mentions the name "Cille" amoungst those land owners due taxes. Subsequent documents include one David Cale in county Worcester 1275 records, one William atte Calle in county Lancashires' 1307 records and in 1379 one Sanus Calle in county Yorkshires' pole tax records.
Kaul of Indian origin
Koul, Kaul and Kaul are popular surnames in the Indian state of Kashmir. The source appears to be "Maha Koul", one name for the Hindu God Lord Shiva, and meaning devotee to Shiva. The meaning of Kaula is big fool.
It is also possible that the name KAUL may have been imported to Kashmir along with the influx of an Arian population in pre medieval times.
Is it possible that we are dealing with four different families whose surnames are coincidently the same, or at least very similar? Or is there a genuine link between two, three or even four KAUL family surnames? The following may help explain our conundrum.
Irish history says........During the sixth and seventh centuries, Irish monastery schools were the most prominent centres of scholarship in the western world. Students from all over Europe flocked to them. They furnished a dramatic contrast to the low level of scholarship in Europe during the dark ages. Irish monasteries also dispatched scholar missionaries, known as "Exiles for Christ" to the restof the world.
Saint Columbia (521 - 597) Colum-Cille "Dove of the Church", was the domunent scholar and poet of his era. He founded a monastery on Iona, a small Gaelic controlled island off Scotland, where he spent the last 40 years of his life educating the Scots and converting them to Christianity.
Saint Columbanus (543 - 615), a "Follower of Colum-Cille) and an "Exile for Christ", founded dozens of monasteries and adjunct schools in mainland europe, including his most celebrated institutions at Luxeuil France and Bobbio Italy. By the ninth and tenth centuries Irish scholars were among the most celebrated in the western world. The towering intellect among them was Johann Scotus "Eriugana", a native Irishman, who travelled to France in 845 to become the pre-eminent scholar in the renaissance of Charlemagne, and the chief professor at the palace school of Charles the Bald.
Holy Roman Empire history says.......The Holy Roman Empire was a loose confederation of central European states that lasted from 962 to 1806. In 1648 the Treaties of Westphilia, which concluded the thirty years war, recognized the independence of the German states or principalities. This destroyed the overwhelming power of the Holy Roman Emperors. Thus producing a freedom in the German states, in which populations were allowed to pursue their chosen religion within the Reformation.
The Empire was composed of a diverse array of national groups, which included Danes, Dutch, Flemish, Belgians, Czechs, Swiss and Germans. It also included groups such as French Huguenots and Swiss Mennonites. Following the Reformation, many of these people left their predominantly Catholic homelands for the various German Principalities to escape religious and ethnic persecution.
Presumption.............There is good reason to presume that our surname evolved from CILLE to KAUL and survived through the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries, even surviving the Reformation. Thus our surname KAUL may have been transmitted from Ireland to the court of Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Empire and the German Principalities.