Recorded in the spellings of Grove, Groves, Grover, and the unusual medieval survival of Le Grove, this is an English surname of pre 9th century origins. Deriving from the Olde German word 'graf', the surname is topographical or occupational for a dweller or worker by a grove or wood. Topographical surnames of this type, were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The surname is 12th Century and early recordings include Osbert de la Grava in the 1197 rolls called the 'Feet of Fines', for the county of Buckinghamshire, John de la Grove in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in 1275, and William Gover, in the 1332 Subsidy Rolls for the county of Sussex in 1332. The first church registers introduced in the 16th century, include such recordings as the christenings of Elizabeth, daughter of John Groves, on September 27th 1590, at St. Dunstans in the East, Stepney, whilst Elizabeth Grove was one of the first settlers in the New World of the American Colonies first formed in 1607. She sailed from London aboard the ship "Truelove", for the "Somer-Islands", (Bermuda) in June 1635. Neal Groves, aged 22 yrs, was fleeing the Irish Potato Famine of 1846 - 1848 when he sailed for New York on June 6th 1846 on the ship Kestrel. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was often 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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