Last name: Snow
Recorded in several forms including Snow, Snowe, Snows, and the occupational Snowman, Snoweman, and Snowesman, this very interesting surname is of early English origins. Although a nickname it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with "snow" except in a transferred sense. It is in fact a description either of a person with a very pale complexion, or it denotes someone with fair or white hair. It could therefore be a nationalistic description of a Norseman, as the derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "snow" meaning snow. The surname is one of the first on record with early examples including: Robert Snow, in the tax register known as "The Feet of Fines" for the county of Suffolk in 1239, Henry Snou in the Hundred Rolls of Buckinghamshire in 1273, and Gilbert Snawe, in the Subsidy Rolls of Essex in 1339. Church Recordings include: Nicholaus Snow who married Katharine Harwoode, on May 10th 1559, at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, whilst John Snowesman a form which derives from the phrase "John Snow's man", meaning the friend or foreman of John Snow, being recorded at St Andrew's Holborn, in the city of London, on July 5th 1597. John Snow MD (1818 - 1858), discovered that cholera was communicated by contaminated water. He also introduced the scientific use of ether into English surgery practice in 1846 - 1847. The first recorded spelling of the family name is probably that of Richard Snow, which was dated 1221. He was a witness in the "Assize Court" of Worcestershire", during the reign of King Henry 111rd, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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