©Barlow Genealogy 1998-2005

The 'Barlow' Name

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A little history on the name Barlow and their place or origin in England. The following is copied from the book, Bunches of Barlows, by John Hawkins & Elizabeth H. Michaels, the original was copied from notes by Allan Poe, Caldwell County NC genealogist.

Barlow was originally a place name of Anglo-Saxon derivation, signifying a hill or clearing planted in barley (Anglo-Saxon 'Baerlic') There are several villages and manors bearing the name, all in the north of England, (Lancashire, Yorkshire, & Derbyshire). The oldest and by far the most numerous of the Barlow families originated in Lancashire taking their name from a manor in the parish of Whalley, near the modern industrial center of Manchester, and near the point where the three counties of Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cheshire meet. They descend from a 13th century knight, Sir Roger Barlow of Barlow, in the reign of Edward I. The senior male line of the family continued in possession of the manor of Barlow for at least four centuries, Thomas Barlow, being lord of the manor in the reign of Charles II, in 1664. The medieval coat of arms of the Lancashire Barlows was (in simple terms), a two-headed silver eagle on a black shield, very similar to the arms of the German emperors, still used. I think, as the arms of West Germany. Some of the junior branches of the family produced some individuals of moderate importance--a Bishop of Rochester (1603), an Archbishop of Tuam in the Church of Ireland (1634), who was ancestor of a Lord Mayor of Dublin (1715)

Records of descendants of more modest pretensions include George Barlow, a baker in Manchester in 1583; Henry Barlow of Derbyshire, a student at Oxford in 1584; John Barlow of Cheshire, another Oxford student in 1600; and Sir Alexander Barlow, Knight of Barlow, whose will was probated in 1620, at Chester, (Whalley Parish, in which the manor of Barlow was situated, was in the diocese and archdeaconry of Chester) The Reverend Canon C.W. Bardslay, who was a rector of a city parish in Manchester for 30 years, published his authorative dictionary of English and Welsh surnames in 1896; he remarked in it that the Barlow name in Lancashire 'has ramified in an extraordinary manner.' The 1873 Post Office Directory for Lancashire listed 75 Barlow householders in the city of Manchester; other directories of the period listed 15 Barlow householders in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and 33 in the city of London.

Dictionary of English and Welsh Names:

Local 'of Barlow' near Manchester, The Lancashire Barlows spring from Barlow Hale and Barlow Moor, near Manchester. The same has ramified in an extra-ordinary manner. Barlow is also a parish in Co Derby, near Chesterfield, and nearly all our Barlows trace back to the neighborhood of Manchester.

The Barlows of Barlow Hale - whence Wm Barlow, Bishop of Lincoln, born about 1550- were seated there so early as 20 Ric II.

The first entry below probably represents Barlow, a chapelry in the Parish of Brayton, west  Rid. Yorks.

1379 Johannes de Barlowe : PI Yorks
1584 Henry Barlow Co Derby Reg Univ. Oxford
1600 John Barlow Co Chester ibod pg 244
1583 George Barlow of Manchester, Baker will of Chester
1594 Ottiwell Barlow of Heuton Norris
1620 Sir Alexander Barlow of Barlow
1656 married John Barlow and Mary Tolley St. Dionis Backchurch
Fred Rump

My suspicion (that's really all we can hope for with name meanings) is that it has the same root from old Germanic in Anglo-Saxon England as in northern Germany where its version is Barlage. Barlage folks immediately changed their names to Barlow once they came to an English speaking country. Like Schmidt became Smith.

In this context lage=lege=low and in the many place names in Germany which end in *lage it is assumed that the area was a low lying place which was cleared of woods for meadows and grazing. It was too wet for farming back then. Later ditches were dug and farming was done anyway.

The Bar part of the name probably comes from bare or nacket. In combination then and like so many names it comes from a locale where an low lying area has been cleared or is now bare.
'A Dictonary of English Surnames' and Mac Lysaghts 'The Surnames of Ireland'

BARLOW first appears in England on the Assize Rolls of Lancashire as 'de Barlowe' in 1260.

The name appears in Dublin, Ireland as an English toponymic --a surname formed from a place-name-- in 1584 and has since appeared in other counties, notably Tipperary.

Sources: Reaney & Wilson

I inquired an Irish researcher and asked him about the Barlow name; it is probably that Barlow is English -- unless Poppa Joe can find it in his Irish books.   There were a lot of English surnames brought to Ireland. Some early with the Normans. Folk of English and Irish descent are usually called 'Anglo Irish.'

In Ulster you have another factor:

Plantations that did not fail. There were other attempts to plant settler populations in southern Ireland that failed. So in Ulster you have large, more recent populations. Some settlements were English. The Scottish ones succeeded better, but you still find a sign- ificant number of English surnames.

'Recent' here is a relative term. These people were in Ireland from t he early 1600's in many cases. They were viewing Ulster as their home before they left to the states. I know that was true of my ancestors -- they loved Ireland and it was where they had come from.

There were not large numbers of Barlows -- I don't find them in Bell 'Surnames of Ulster' or in Mitchell's book on the 'Surnames of Derry.'  It is not in Black 'Scottish Surnames.'  It is not in Hanna 'The Scotch Irish.'  If a Barlow was a high ranking settler at the time of the plantation, it would show up there.

Joe Coastal - Pappa Joe - Carolina USA

I did not find the name in my Scotch-Irish Book but you will want to check in a Book of Scottish Surnames such as Black's. The origin of the name is JUST a clue. The PERSON must be traced to determine the origin of the person.

Jim Barlow, List Owner/Germanna descendant

The Germanna Barlows descend  from Christopher Parlur or Parler, a last name that evolved into Barlow.  A general  version is that Christopher and wife,  Pavera (Barbara), came over on a ship believed to be the Scott.

It was supposedly bound for Pennsylvania in 1717 (perhaps arriving in late winter 1718, depending on what calendar you use) with several families from a large area generally west of a line from Stuttgart to Heilbronn.  The captain, Andrew Tarbett, was detained in debtors prison in London, which delayed the trip.  It is believed Tarbett had conspired in advance to deliver the Germans to Virginia, which  he eventually did.

This group became known as members  of  Germanna Colony II,  as an earlier group had arrived and lived in an area to  the east of  Culpeper.   Many  of  the second colony,  ended up  in an area near  Madison, south of Culpeper.   A focal point for many of them was the Hebron  Lutheran Church  in  Madison, which still stands and is  still  used.  Of course, from there, they migrated everywhere.

An excellent resource for the Germanna colonies is at:
Additionally,  historian  John Blankenbaker,  a  Germanna  descendant,  writes  almost daily historical notes about  the colonies.   The daily notes are posted on the Germanna List Serve, and the archive is at: 

If you search for Barlow, you will find a listing of  all the notes that  references to the  Barlow line, whose time and home in Germany are a mystery
Edna Skoog  writes of  these Germanna descendants of  Christopher Parlur:

"Although  there  are  many problems and puzzles in  tracing any  line  back to the immigrant ancestors,  one puzzle is solved in the case of the Parlur/Barlow  family of early Culpepper Co Virginia.   This BARLOW line is not related to any of the English Barlow families. 

According  to Star W. Rowland of  Sterling Virginia, Christopher Parlur/ Barlow and his wife, Pavera, came to Spotsylvania Co Viriginia in 1717, passengers in a ship load of Germans bound for William Penn's new colony of Pennsylvania.......... 
......some changes  in  the name such as Parlur, Barler, Barlor, Beriet and Barlow...all appear in various deed
books by the early 1800's.....

See also:  A complete index to the line of  these Germanna families  as known to the Barlow Genealogy, many with documentation, and references to the findings.

Richard Barlow

I remember reading somewhere that Barlow was Norman (from the Normandy region of France) meaning Cliff or Bluff Dweller in the old keltic language.
WHO ARE YOU?     A Barlow?     The Romance of Your Name        From a 1937 New York Newspaper, contributed by John Darling
By Ruby Haskins Ellis

This is a surname of great antiquity. Some good authorities maintain that the literal interpretation signifies 'bare hills.' Famlies bearing the name Barlow can be found living in almost every part of the world today. In its native Englad, Barlow was a surname established in Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Derbyshire, but it is today much more widely spread throughout the United Kingdom of Great Britian.

Although there are undoubtedly several separate and distinct families of Barlow in the United States, the line which is most clearly identified with the parent family in England was established by George Barlow, the son of the Rev. William Barlow, of Easton, England. The records show him to have been in Exeter, Mass., in 1639, evidentally settling there very soon after arriving in America. He was a minister, preaching in Exeter and Saco, Me. His father was of the Established Church and the son, George, evidently followed the example of his parent, was of the same faith. He was forbidden to preach or to prophesy by the General Court of Massachusetts. Upon being prohibited from preaching he moved to Plymouth, where he began the practice of law. The Plymouth Government in order to keep Quakers out of the colony was forced to appoint a 'state constable' to enforce the law. George Barlow was appointed to the office and in 1658 was sent to be the special marshal for Sandwich, Massachusetts, Barnstable and Yarmouth. By imposing many fines and penalties upon the Quakers he became the target of their criticism and suffered many hardships at their hands.

Outstanding among American Barlows was Joel Barlow, poet, politician and man of letters, Peter Townsend Barlow and Samuel Latham Barlow of New York City, were the descendants of Edward Barlow.
To learn more about the origins of the Barlow name, and the coat of arms, please refer to Edson Barlow's article 'Barlow Coat of Arms.'
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