This intriguing and rare name is of early medieval English origin, and is one of that large group of European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were given in the first instances with reference to a variety of distinguishing qualities, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, habits of dress, or occupation. In this case, the surname Marrow derives from the Middle English "marwe", companion, mate, fellow worker; the term is believed to be ultimately of Old Scandinavian origin, and although not a commonly used vocabulary word in modern England, it survives especially in North Eastern dialects, chiefly around Durham, where it is used to signify a companion, particularly a workmate. Early recordings of the name include that of Geoffrey le Marewe, in the Cambridgeshire Hundred Rolls of 1276. William Marrow, aged 25 yrs., was an early emigrant to the New World; he sailed from London aboard the "Hopewell" in February 1634, bound for the Barbadoes. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Marwe, which was dated 1208, in the "Register of the Freemen of Leicester", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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