This interesting surname is of early medieval English, Welsh and Irish origin, and has three possible sources. Firstly, it is a pet form of David, a popular personal name in England and Wales, which is derived from the Hebrew male given name "David", meaning beloved. Secondly, it is a nickname from the (jack) daw, derived from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "dawe", which is from an unattested Olde English pre 7th Century cognate of the Old High German "taha". The (jack) daw was noted for its leek black colour, raucous voice, and thievish nature, any of which characteristics could readily have given rise to a nickname. Thirdly, it is an Irish Anglicization of the Gaelic "O'Deaghaidh", descendant of Deaghadh, a personal name of uncertain etymology. It may be composed of the elements "deagh", good, and "adh", luck, fate, and some such association seems to lie behind its sometimes translated form (in Ireland) of Goodwin. A Coat of Arms granted to the Daw family is a silver field, on a red pile a chevron between three cross crosslets of the field, the Crest being an eagle with wings expanded, looking at the sun proper. Examples of early recordings include Ralph Dawe of Worcester in 1275, Lovekin Dawes in the Hundred Rolls of Oxford in 1279. Sir William Dawes was archbishop of York in 1713, whilst Sophia Daw, also known as Dawes, 1790 - 1840, was the mistress of the Duc de Conde, and a prominent intrigeur in the court of King Charles X of France. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Dawe, which was dated 1211, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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