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


The surname Towe is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came. The name Towe is derived from the Old French word touche, meaning thicket, and indicates that the original bearer lived near a thicket.

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The surname Towe was first found in Cheshire, where the family is conjecturally descended from Joslin de Touche, who was granted lands by King William, the Duke of Normandy, after the Conquest. The Touches were Lords of Audley, the Earls of Castlehaven. By the 14th century, many of these Norman nobles moved north to Scotland and were granted land by King David of Scotland.

Spelling variations of this family name include: Touch, Toulch, Tough, Tuff, Tuf, Toucht and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Towe research. Another 350 words (25 lines of text) covering the years 1361, 1549, and 1561 are included under the topic Early Towe History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Towe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Towe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • R Towe, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851

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  • Harry Lancaster Towe (1898-1977), American Republican Party politician
  • Monte Corwin Towe (b. 1953), American basketball coach and retired player
  • Peter Milburn Towe (b. 1922), retired Canadian diplomat and businessman
  • Jaarnek Towe (b. 1965), Swedish singer


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  1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  3. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  4. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  5. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  7. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  8. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  9. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  11. ...

The Towe Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Towe 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 7 December 2013 at 20:29.

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