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Surname Monroe - Meaning and Origin

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Redefining Self-Identity and Surname Meaning Through iGENEA DNA Test Insights

Interpreting the revelations of my iGENEA DNA test provided me an unexpected shift in perspective on my personal identity and heritage, reshaping how I understand the significance of my family's surname, Monroe. With genetics painting a more intricate picture of my family's background, the Monroe name now holds a deeper meaning for me.

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Monroe: What does the surname Monroe mean?

The last name Monroe is of Scottish origin and is derived from the place name, Munro, from the region of the Scottish Highlands. The word itself is believed to come from the Gaelic elements "monadh", meaning "hill" or "highland" and "ruadh", meaning "red". Hence, Monroe can be loosely interpreted as "red hill". It was initially used to refer to people who lived in or near hilly or highland areas. Over time, this geographical label evolved into a surname, carried forward by descendants and spread across regions due to migrations and alliances. Famous individuals with this last name include the U.S. President James Monroe and the iconic actress Marilyn Monroe, further popularizing this surname worldwide.

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Monroe: Where does the name Monroe come from?

The last name Monroe is most commonly found in the United States and Canada. In the United States, the states with the highest concentrations of people with the surname Monroe are Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. In Canada, the provinces with the highest concentration of Monroes are Ontario and Quebec.

Most Monroe surnames are likely related to Scottish ancestry, as the name originally comes from the Highland region of Scotland. The first record of the Monroe surname is found in the mid-13th century when John de Munro accompanied John Balliol on a mission to Norway.

In the United States, the name is especially associated with the South. Thomas Monroe arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in 1650, and in the 19th century many of his descendants migrated to the Tennessee and North Carolina area, where the name is still best-known.

In general, the Monroe surname is found in various parts of the United States, with the greatest concentration in the South. There is also a presence in Canada, primarily in Ontario and Quebec.

Variations of the surname Monroe

The surname Monroe is of Scottish origin and can be spelled a variety of ways, including Munro, Monro, Munroe, and Monrow. Similarly, variants of this surname include MacInroi, MacNeur, Macanroe, Macanrow, MacGarroucht, MacIndro, and Monrogh.

The etymology of the surname is derived from the Old French word "le Maire" meaning "the mayor." The surname was first taken on by the royal court as it indicated a high rank or respected position. This was also one of the first hereditary surnames as it was passed down to descendants. Since the original clan chiefs held local authority, they adopted the surname as a way to differentiate their lines.

Munro is the most commonly used version of the surname, particularly in Scotland. Monro is most typically found in Northern Ireland. Munroe and Monrow are often seen in the United States.

The surname is derived from a variety of locations in Scotland with the same name, including Munro in Ross-shire, Munro in Fife, Monro of Geddes in Inverness-shire, Monro of Foulis in Ross-shire, Monro of Milntoun and several others.

The famous bearers of the surname include James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States; Marilyn Monroe, the celebrated American actress; and the novelist Alistair MacLean, who wrote "Where Eagles Dare" and "The Guns of Navarone."

Famous people with the name Monroe

  • Marilyn Monroe: American actress, singer, model and pop culture icon (1926-1962).
  • James Monroe: America's fifth president, serving from 1817-1825.
  • Marilyn Manson: American rock musician, actor, painter, author and songwriter.
  • Harriet Monroe: American editor, publisher, essayist and poet (1860-1936).
  • Jayne Mansfield: American actress in film, theater and television (1933-1967).
  • Chris Monroe: American author, artist, and illustrator best known for the ‘Monsterific’ series of books.
  • Ethel Monroe: American silent film actress (1904-1928).
  • Quincy Jones: American record producer, arranger, composer, television producer, film producer, instrumentalist, magazine founder, entertainment company executive, and humanitarian (1933-present).
  • Henry Monroe: American organized crime figure in New York City (1906-1980).
  • Mae Elizabeth Monroe: American film and television actress (1929-1969).

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