This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from a now "lost" place thought to have been in Lincolnshire, due to the large number of recordings in this county. The placename is derived from the Old Norse "hris", brushwood and the Old English pre 7th Century "dael", valley, similar to the Old Norse "dalr", and means "valley of brushwood". An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets are known to have disappeared in Britain since circa 1100, due to such natural disasters as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished or to the widespread practice of "clearing" large areas of land to make sheep pastures during the height of the wool-trade in the 14th and 15th Centuries. The surname can be found as Risdall, Risdale, Resdale, Raysdale and Rysdale. Among the recordings in Lincolnshire are the christenings of Gilberte, son of Gilbert Risdall, on April 14th 1617 at St. Mary's, Weston, and of Mary, daughter of John Risdall, on September 11th 1728 at Gosberton. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wyllm Rydsadalle (christening), which was dated September 29th 1566, St. Mary's, Weston, Lincolnshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.