This interesting surname is either a locational name from places so called, such as Howe in Norfolk and Western Yorkshire, or, it may be a topographical name for someone who lived by a small hill or a man-made mound or barrow, both deriving from the Middle English "how" or the Old Norse "haugr" meaning "hill" or "barrow". It can also be from the Old French personal name Hu(gh)e, introduced to Britain by the Normans. This is in origin a short form of any of the various Germanic compound names with the first element "hug" meaning "heart, mind or spirit", such as Howard, "heart-brave", and Hubble, "heart-bold". The surname dates back to the early 12th Century, (see below). Further recordings include Marjorie de Howes (1211), "The Curia Regis Rolls," Leicestershire and Robert atte Hou (1333) "The Place Names and Essex Review of Yorkshire". Variations in the idiom of the spelling include How, Hoe, Hoo and Hewe. Helen Howe married William Powncett at St. Leonard Eastcheap, London on January 16th 1550. One Edward Howe, together with his wife Elizabeth and son Jeremie, were emigrants to the New World and sailed aboard the "Truelove" bound for New England in September 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Ho, which was dated 1121 - Feudal Documents, Essex, during the reign of King Stephen, "Count of Blois", 1100 - 1135. 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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