This interesting and unusual surname is of Dutch origin, and is an example of the sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, including supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress and occupation. The derivation of the name is from the Dutch "broer", brother, and would have originated as a nickname for a brother. It would have been given to the brother of someone important, or to a good friend who was like a brother. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Margaret Broe and David Lewis on July 23rd 1656 at St. Mary Abbots, Kensington; the christening of Richard, son of Richard and Susanna Broe, on November 16th 1676 at St. Botolph Bishopsgate; and the marriage of Richard Broe and Margaret Beck on April 24th 1697 at Allhallows London Wall. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a blue shield charged with a gold mullet, on a gold chief three trefoils slipped. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Broe, which was dated May 28th 1647, witness at a christening at St. Katherine by the Tower, London, during the reign of King Charles 1, known as "The Martyr", 1625 - 1649. 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.
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