This interesting and unusual name has a number of possible origins, the first and most generally applicable to bearers of the modern surname being ultimately of Norse origin, from the Olde Norse word "greifi", in Middle English "greyve", meaning "steward", generally the position of steward meant someone employed to oversee and be in charge of property such as a Lord's Manor House and estate. The second possible origin is from an Olde English pre 7th Century topographical name derived from "graf", meaning grove or thicket and denoting residence by or at such a place. The third origin is also topographical, from the Olde French "grave", gravel, denoting residence on a patch of gravelly soil. Joan and Mary Grave were early emigrants to America, leaving London on the 'Hopewell' bound for New England in 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Greyve, which was dated 1255, in the "records of the Borough of Nottingham", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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