This unusual surname is of early medieval Scottish origin, and is an occupational name for a worker in metal, deriving from the Old Gaelic "gobha", smith. Metal-working was one of the earliest occupations for which specialist skills were required, and medieval smiths were important not only in making horseshoes and plough-shares, but above all for their skill in forging swords, other weapons and armour. In Scotland, the smith was a man of importance in most of the clans, so that the name has no particular connection with any one clan. Gow and Gowan are the more usual Anglicizations of the name, the latter form deriving from the Gaelic "gobhainn", genitive of "gobha", smith. On August 28th 1705, John, son of Donald Gove and Janet Geddes, was christened at Cromdale and Inverallan and Advie, Inverness, and on March 17th 1706, the christening of William, son of Peter Gove and Janet Steuart, also took place in that parish. A notable bearer of the name, listed in the "National Biography", was Richard Gove, M.A., Oxford (1611), divine and author of pious works. A Coat of Arms granted to the Gove family is a silver shield with a cross lozengy between four black eagles displayed, the Crest being a black demi monkey emerging from a gold mural coronet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Colin Gove, constable of Taruedal, which was dated 1278, in "Charters of the Priory of Beauly", Scotland, during the reign of King Alexander 111 of Scotland, 1249 - 1286. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation.
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