This surname of GRAVITT was of two-fold origin. It was a locational name 'the dweller at the grove-trees'. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. Following the Crusades in Europe a need was felt for a family name. This was recognized by those of noble blood, who realised the prestige and practical advantage it would add to their status. The name was also an occupational name, derived from the Old Norman word 'greif' meaning a steward, one who looked after property. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. The name is also spelt GRAVIER, GRAVELING, GRAVELLE, GRAVES, GRAVESTON, GRAYSTON and GRAYSON. The earliest record of the name is GREUUE (without surname) who was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. Lefis filius Greiue was recorded in 1161 in Northumberland, and Adam filius Graiue appears in Canterbury in 1221. As early as the year 1100, it was quite common for English people to give French names to their children, and the earliest instances are found among the upper classes, both the clergy and the patrician families. The Norman-French names used were generally the names most commonly used by the Normans, who had introduced them into England during the Norman Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066. Other records of the name mention Edith de la Grave, 1273 County Oxford. Johannes Graue of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Edmund Grave married Dorothy Smith at Westminster, London in 1600. John Johnson married Rose Graves at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1607. The eagle depicted in the crest is emblematical of fortitude and magnaminity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
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