Recorded in several spellings including Pirot, Pirotte, Pirou, Piriou, Pirout, Pirouet, Piroux, and probably others, this is a French medieval surname. It would seem to describe a dancer or acrobat, or the son of a dancer, one who performed pirouettes and other complex dance movements. If so this is one of a large group of similar surnames found in every country, which allowed public theatrical performances, or had surnames. These surnames were occupational and given to people who played certain parts such as God or the Devil, and became known for them, or were, as with this name, skilled in an activity which contributed to a performance. The travelling theatres which fostered these names, lasted in Europe into the Railway Age, about 1850, and much later in other parts of the world. French church registers before the 1792 Revolution are rare, most were burnt by over-enthusiastic Republicans as symbols of the hated secret police. Such examples as we have been able to find include Yvon Piriou at Plougastel, Finisterre, on March 1st 1625, Francois Pirout at Fourcelles St Gorgon, Meurthe-et-Moselle, on April 9th 1724, and Anatoile Piroux at St Germain en Laye, Seine-et-Oise, on December 19th 1790.
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