Recorded as Dow, Dowe, Dove, Dew and possibly others, this is a Scottish (and sometimes Irish) surname. It is of pre 10th century Gaelic origins, of which it has several as shown. It can be a developed form of David, or derive from the ancient word "dubh", meaning dark or black. This word was originally used as a personal name, by itself or as a shortened form of a longer double-stemmed name, and later as a nickname or byname for a swarthy man, or perhaps for someone of "dark" temperament. Early examples of the surname recordings include Brokynus Duff in the year 1341, when he was a juror in Aberdeen, and Ede Douw who held lands in the city of Edinburgh in 1362. John Dowe was juror on an inquest in Berwick in 1370, and John Dove, given as being the landlord of the Whitefoord Arms, Mauchline, in the 18th century. He was known as Johnie Doo or Johnie Pidgeon! The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Duncan Duff. This was was dated 1275, in the "Charters of the Priory of Beauly", during the reign of King Alexander 111rd of Scotland, 1249 - 1286. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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