Valentine’s Day 2008
According to family historian William DeLoss Love, the surname LOVE does not refer to affection but has quite a different origin:
“Love – this name related not to the tender passion, but is an old modification of the French Loup, wolf.” Variations on the French name, Loup, include Loupel, Lovell, Louel, Loue, and Lovett. “In the Norse it is Lufa, in the Dutch Luf, in Italian Lupo, in the old French Lou or Loue, and in the Scotch dialect of early times Lufe, Lulf, Luff, Luffe, Luif, and Luiff.”
In medieval times the wolf was considered to have mystical powers, and in 11th century France, “the name Lupus was a sobriquet that had been given on account of the disposition of a warrior or in compliment of his deeds.” Norman barons named Hugh le Loup, Richard de Louet, and Robert Louel came to England with William the Conqueror in 1066. These families over the centuries had many branches, which took various forms of the name, becoming Lous, Lovells, Wolfs, le Loues, or Loves. Whatever form their name took, however, they all had similar coats of arms, suggesting a common family origin. The crest always displayed the figure of a wolf, usually a row of three, as seen on the banner in the picture, above left.
William DeLoss Love traces our ancestry back to these Norman barons. By the thirteenth century, one branch of the family had settled in Buckinghamshire. A descendant of this house, named Sir John le Loue, was one of the knights of Edward I. He and others of the name were probably part of a large migration of English who moved into southern Scotland in the wake of Edward I’s wars of conquest. Families with the Scottish form of the name, Luff, or Luiff, lived in Ayrshire and Renfrewshire, regions south of Glasgow, from the 13th century onwards. Descendants of Scottish Love families were part of the colonization of Ulster, Ireland, during the time of James I, in the 17th century. A hundred years later, in about 1730, Adam and Mary Love left their home in Ballymoney, Ulster, Ireland, and settled in Rhode Island. They are the founders of our American line of Loves.
1. William DeLoss Love, Love Family History, unpublished manuscript, Hartford, CT, c. 1918, pp. 1-17.
W.D. Love refers to two other sources:
Mark Antony Lower, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom, London: John Russell Smith, 1860; and
Charles Wareing Bardsley, English Surnames, London: Chatto & Windus, 1915.