This very interesting surname may be either a variant of the Old Gaelic "MacDermot Roe", an important Connacht sept seated at Alderford, County Roscommon, or it may be a relatively modern double-barrelled surname formed following a marriage between bearers of the above names. The Irish name of McDermott Roe, also written as "McDermott-roe", derives from the Old Gaelic "MacDhiarmad Ruadh", from "Mac", son of, and the ancient male given name "Diarmaid", variously interpreted as "free man", "free from envy" or "without orders", with the distinguishing epithet "ruadh", red-(haired). The McDermottroes are a branch of the princely McDermotts of Moylurg, County Roscommon, who descend from Dermot, 12th Century King of Moylurg. Their chief is styled Prince of Coolavin, and entitled to be called the McDermott. Recordings of the surname from Connacht Church Registers include the birth of Roger, son of Con McDermott Roe and Anne Reid, at Gurteen district, County Sligo, on March 27th 1866. If not a component of the above surname, Row may be an Anglicized form of another Irish name, "O'Ruaidh", descendant of Ruadh (the red-haired one), chiefly found in Ormond (Munster and County Kilkenny). Alternatively, Row may be of medieval English origin, derived from the Middle English "row, raw", and given as a topographical name to someone who lived by a hedgerow or in a row of houses built next to one another, as in Richard atte Rowe (Staffordshire, 1306). It may also be a nickname, from "ruh", rough (as below). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey le Ruwe, which was dated 1195, in the "Pipe Rolls of Leicestershire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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