Siegel (also Segal or Segel), is a German and Ashkenazi Jewish surname. it can be traced to 11th century Bavaria and was used by people who made wax seals for or sealed official documents (each such male being described as a Siegelbeamter). Alternate spellings include Sigel, Sigl, Siegl, and others. "Siegel" is also the modern German word for seal. The name ultimately derives from the Latin sigillum, meaning "seal" as in the "Seal of the City of New York": "Sigillum Civitatis Novi Eboraci." The Germanicized derivative of the name was given to professional seal makers and engravers. Some researchers have attributed the surname to Sigel, referring to Sól (Sun), the goddess of the sun in Germanic mythology (Siȝel or sigel in Old English / Anglo-Saxon), but that is highly speculative.
Other variants may routinely include Siegelman, Siegle, Sigl, and Sigel (and presumably some bearers of these names are lineal descendants of ethnic Jews who changed the spellings of their surnames in the course of assimilating among other cultures: "Segal" and "Segel" are false cognates to Siegel, usually having derived from a quite different root.) Most sources indicate that it derives from the Hebrew acronym סגל[which?] the abbreviated form of either Sagan Gadol ha-Leviya, which means "great assistant to the Levites", or Sagan Gadol L'-Cohen which means "great assistant to the Cohanim" (special group of Levites who tended to more holy tasks within the Jewish Temple), and was an honorific title bestowed upon a member of the tribe of Levi who performed temple duties faithfully. (Some Rabbis aver that Segal/Segall derives from the Hebrew s'gula, meaning "treasure." However, this would not explain the association of the name only with the tribe of Levi.) Further, the double-L in Segall seems[to whom?] to be a specifically Rumanian (language) spelling variant.