This unusual surname, of French origin, is an interesting example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These nicknames were given with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, and mental and moral characteristics. The derivation, in this instance, is from the French "miro, miraud", an adjective referring to a short-sighted person, one with poor sight. The surname, with variant spellings Mireau, Miraud, Miray and Mirox, is well recorded in French and Canadian Church Registers from the late 17th Century. On April 18th 1763 Louis Miray and Catherine Mennier were married in Varennes, Vercheres, Quebec, Canada, and on May 3rd 1733, marie Jeanne Miraud married a Louis Maloin in Quebec. The marriage of Jean Baptiste Miroy to Anne Villain took place in Omont, Ardennes, France, on May 20th 1794, and on May 27th 1822 Francoise Frederique Louise Miroy was christened in Dom-le-Mesnil, Ardennes. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mathieu Mireau, which was dated July 5th 1695, marriage to Angelique Content, at L'Ancienne-Loretk, Quebec, Canada, during the reign of King Louis X1V of France, 1643 - 1715. 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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