Poe History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Poe is derived from a nickname in the Old French. A broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, nickname surnames referred to a characteristic of the first person who used the name. They can describe the bearer's favored style of clothing, appearance, habits, or character.

In the pre-Christian era, many pagan gods and demi-gods were believed to be a mixture of animals and humans, such as the Greek god Pan who was the god of flocks and herds and was represented as a man with the legs, horns and ears of a goat. In the Middle Ages, anthropomorphic ideas, which attributed human qualities and form to gods or animals, were held about the characters of other living creatures. They were based on the creature's habits. Moreover, these associations were reflected in folk tales, mythology, and legends that portrayed animals behaving as humans. The Old French nickname Poe, meant peacock. It was a nickname given to people known for their florid manner and pride in their appearance. Nicknames were a broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, and were a type of hereditary surname. Nickname surnames referred to a characteristic of the first person who used the name. They can describe the bearer's favored style of clothing, appearance, habits, or character. Often nicknames described strong traits or attributes that people wished to emulate in a specific animal. In the pre-Christian era, many pagan gods and demigods were believed to be a mixture of animals and humans, such as the Greek god Pan who was the god of flocks and herds and was represented as a man with the legs, horns and ears of a goat. In the Middle Ages, anthropomorphic ideas, which attributed human qualities and form to gods or animals, were held about the characters of other living creatures. They were based on the creature's habits. Moreover, these associations were reflected in folk tales, mythology, and legends which portrayed animals behaving as humans.

Early Origins of the Poe family

The surname Poe was first found in Devon where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Blackborough. The family can trace their ancestry to 846 in Brittany to the Lords of Poncar. Descended were the Viscounts of Poncar in the 11th century. Accompanying William the Conqueror at Hastings in 1066, they were granted lands in Devon.

In nearby Cornwall, "Poughill, or Pouguill, is simply Cornish, and signifies the country frequented with gulls, unless it be a deviation from Pouguillan which implies the low country; which latter term, from the situation of the parish in the county, does not seem to be very applicable." [1]

Early History of the Poe family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Poe research. Another 112 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1299 and 1631 are included under the topic Early Poe History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Poe Spelling Variations

The Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules, and therefore, Breton surnames have many spelling variations. Latin and French, which were the official court languages, were also influential on the spelling of surnames. The spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules. Therefore, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England after the Norman Conquest, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. The name has been spelled Poe, Po, Poee, Pow, Pough and others.

Early Notables of the Poe family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Poe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Poe family to Ireland

Some of the Poe family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Poe migration to the United States +

Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Poe family to immigrate North America:

Poe Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Phil Poe, who arrived in Maryland in 1676 [2]
Poe Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Poe who settled in North America in 1750
Poe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • W. W. Poe settled in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • W W Poe, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [2]
  • Miguel L Poe, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1858 [2]
  • Francis Poe, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1860 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Poe (post 1700) +

  • Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), one of the most famous American poets and short story writers, best known for his poem The Raven, eponym of the Edgar Award
  • Edgar Allan Poe (1871-1961), American Democrat politician, Maryland State Attorney General (1911-1915)
  • Wilford B. Poe (b. 1937), American academic
  • William F. Poe (b. 1931), Florida politician
  • William Henry Leonard Poe (1807-1831), American poet and presumed collaborator with brother Edgar Allan Poe
  • Michael Poe, American webcomics artist
  • Orlando Poe (1832-1895), United States Army officer
  • Raymond Poe (b. 1944), Illinois politician
  • Richard Poe (b. 1946), American actor
  • Ron Poe (b. 1942), American football coach
  • ... (Another 50 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


Suggested Readings for the name Poe +

  • 0 Poe Genealogy by Walter R. McCarley, Poe Pages by Anne Long.

  1. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  2. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


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