This unusual surname has two distinct possible origins, one English and the other Gaelic Irish. In the first instance, the derivation is from the Middle English "crowe", (Olde English "crawa"), meaning "crow", and originally given as a nickname to someone thought to bear a fancied resemblance to the bird, perhaps someone with particularly dark hair. The surname from this source first appears on record in the latter part of the 12th Century (see below). Other early recordings include: Nicholas Crowe, in the 1187 Pipe Rolls of Norfolk, and William Croe, in the Hundred Rolls of Suffolk, dated 1273. One Thomas Crow, noted in Records of the Diocese of Dunblane, appears to be the earliest Scottish namebearer. In Ireland, the surname Crow(e) is used as an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic patronymic "Mac Enchroe" from an earlier "Mac Conchradha", "son of Conchradha", a personal name containing the element "con", hound. The motto "Skeagh mac en chroe" is attached to the Coat of Arms for the Crow(e) family of County Clare. Mitford Crow, colonel and British diplomatic agent became governor of Barbados in 1707. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ailwin Crawe, which was dated 1180, the "Pipe Rolls of Warwickshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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