Re: Origin of name Vidal Source one: In "Vidals of Winoona" [Canada} copyright 1993 by William Vidal, he states:
"The Vidals, of Spain and France, originated from Marcus Marcellus Vidal (of the family of the Caesars) who was Prefect of Rome in the reign of Claudius, A.D. 60...."according to the American author Gore Vidal, ...the original name was Vitellus or Vitalis, ...and underwent changes over the centuries,...Papinius P. Statius, a Roman poet who lived in the same era, dedicated the elegant prose and versecontained in the fourth book of Silvae, to Marcellus. Marcus Marcellus Vidal had two sons, Marcellus and Eugenius, who as usual amongst the higher classes of that period, were sent to Athens to be educated. Here they became friends of Dionysius the Areopagite, and all three embraced Christianity, becoming disciples of the Apostle Paul (The Acts 17:34).
The Vidal brothers returned to Rome, and lived there as cicilians of good repute, but after seven years were appointed heads of primitive churches at Toledo, Spain and Narbonne, Gaul, and settled in these countries with their families....
St. Eugenius was martyred along with Dionysius (St. Denis of Paris), and their decapitated bodies case into the Seine River, where the Cathedral of St. Denis now stands. Much later, his remains were obtained from Charles the IXof France, and presented to the city of Toledo by Philip the II of Spain about 1560 A.D. The Ochavo, at the back of the Capilla de la Virgen in the Cathedral of Toledo, is richly adorned and contains the collection of relics, among them massive silver caskets,...for the bones of the saints Leocadia and Eugenius. (Toledo, by A.F. Calvert).
Marcellus was canonized as a Saint, and the fourteenth of February was set apart as his day, that being the date of his martyrdom, sometime in the reign of Trajan. The church at Plasencia celebrates his day, and the church at Avila (in Old Castile) is said to possess his relics.
A Vidal who was an archbishop in Northern Spain is said to have gone to France, and become a Protestant, because of fellings of revulsion caused by the atrocities being committed during the inquisition in the late 1500's.
Source two: In "La maison du Vidal de Montferrier", Abby C-P Tenard, writing in French states that the name descends from Vidalaric or Vitalric, a Visigoth chief who invaded France in 472 A.D. His son Vitaniza became the first seigneur of Montferrier.
The name resurfaces in 1110 when Pierre Guillaume du Vidal left for the crusades with Guillaume VII of Montpillier.
Tenard then traces the Vidals through eleven generations up to about 1870.
Note: Some Vidals became Hugenotte and left France ca 1685 and settled in various countries eg. England, Germany, Australia. My husband is a descendent of a Vidal family that fled France for England.