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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The name Kow comes from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It was a name for a jackdaw. Checking further we found the name was derived from the Old English word coo. This was in turn derived from the Old Norse word ka, which was their word for jackdaw. Thus the original bearer of this name must have reminded his contemporaries of a jackdaw and was referred to as "Kow" as a nickname.

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The surname Kow was first found in Lancashire, where the Kow family held a family seat from ancient times. The earliest known bearer of the name was Osbert Ka, who was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Lancashire in 1188.

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Kow has undergone many spelling variations, including Coe, Coes, Cowe, Kow, Cawe, Kowe, Coo, Ku, Koo and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kow research. Another 288 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1188, 1221, 1783, and 1860 are included under the topic Early Kow History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 22 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kow Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Kow family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 110 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Kow were among those contributors: Robert Coe, who sailed from Ipswich to Watertown on the ship Francis in 1634; Matthew Coe, who emigrated from Bristol to Portsmouth in the year 1640; Alester Cowe, who arrived in Boston, Massachussets in 1652.

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  1. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  2. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  3. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  4. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  5. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  6. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  8. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  11. ...

The Kow Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kow Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 27 October 2010 at 13:27.

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