Recorded in the spellings of Grove, Groves, Grover, and the "lost" medieval place name of Groveham, 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 Grover, 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 that of Thomas Grovm, a witness at the church of St Mary Whitechapel, in the city of London, on March 14th 1567, the christening of Elizabeth 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. Elizabeth Groveham was christened at St Andrews Holborn, city of London, on June 13th 1658, whilst Neal Groves, aged 22, was fleeing the Irish Potato Famine of 1846 - 1848 when he sailed for New York on June 6th 1846 on the ship Kestrel. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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