This interesting old name is of early Medieval English and French origin, and is an occupational surname for a smith or a worker in iron. The name derives from the Middle English and Old French terms 'ferreor, ferour', smith, derivatives of 'fer', iron, from the Latin 'ferrum'. The development of the surname shows the usual Medieval English change in pronunciation (and thence spelling) from '-er' to '-ar'; James Farro (1525, Yorkshire), William Farrowe (1528, ibid.), Alys Farray (1559, ibid.), Roger Farrer (1613, ibid.) and William Farrar (1675, ibid.). As the foregoing suggests, the modern surname is still found most frequently in Yorkshire. There are a wide variety of different forms of the name today: Farrar, Farrer, Farrah, Farra, Farrey, Farrow, Faro, Pharaoh, Pharro, Pharrow, Varah, Varey, Varrow and Vairow. One Robert Farrar was an early emigrant to the New World, leaving London in July on the 'Transport' bound for Virginia. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo Farrour, which was dated 1379, in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns, during the reign of King Richard 11, known as 'Richard of Bordeaux', 1377-1399. 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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