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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. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  2. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  4. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  6. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  10. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. 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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