Recorded in several forms including O'Drought, Drought, Drat, Drowt, Drout, and even Druitt, this is quite a rare Irish surname, although in its different spellings, quite widely recorded across the country. It is a derivative of the ancient Gaelic word 'droichead' meaning bridge, and as such in medieval times or earlier described a keeper of a bridge or causeway, and probably one who collected any tolls. In Ireland since the 15th century the name has generally been anglicised to its literal meaning of Bridgeman, although confusingly this is also an English settler surname, which from much the same period was popular in its own right in County Cork. Job descriptive surnames are very rare in Ireland and represent less than 1%, as against over 25% in England. Most Irish nameas are patronymics, deriving originally from the name or more more usually the nickname, of the first chief. In this case early surving examples of the surname recordings in some of its different forms include: Robert Drat, the son of William Drat, christened at St Johns church, Limerick, on December 18th 1725, Robert Drought, who married Elizabeth Vicars at Grantstown, Queens County (as recorded), on May 23rd 1732, and Jane Drowt, who married James O'Donnell, also at St Johns, Limerick, on August 10th 1794.
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