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Recorded in various spellings including Munro, Munroe, Monro, and Monroe, this famous surname is Scottish. According to the various histories of the clan there is a legend that the original nameholders came from Ireland in the 12th century. The surname certainly appears to be Gaelic, and could derive from the name 'Maolruadh'. This translates as 'the red haired tonsured one' from 'maol' meaning bald, and 'ruadh', red or auburn. However in Scotland there is also a different claim that the origin is locational, although still Irish, and a such describes 'a man from the River Roe' in County Derry. It is also claimed that the surname had the Irish prefix 'O' meaning grandson or male descendant, but this was certainly not used in Scotland. Early examples of the surname recording include Robert de Monroe who had a charter from King Robert 1st of Scotland in 1338. He is believed to have been the first registered chief of the clan. Other examples are those of Johannes de Monro, of Foulis, a charter witness of the lands of Usuy in 1463, whilst four centuries later James Monroe was the fifth president of the United States of America in 1823. He was a descendant of Andrew Monroe, who was captured at the battle of Preston in 1648, and shipped to Virginia Colony, where he ultimately prospered. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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