While the name Grover is of Anglo-Saxon, it is Germanic in origin derived from the German word “graf” which translates to mean earl. An earl is the title give to a British noble. In the hierarchy of British nobility, earls were above viscounts but less than a marquis.
Surnames in Britain prior to the Norman conquest were largely unheard of. In the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier times, residents found little need for surnames as everyone in these communities new each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, with the passage of time, population growth and expansions of communities as villages gave way to towns and cities, it became necessary to add a qualifier to a people's names to distinguish them, one from another. Therefore one person may have been identified by their given name plus their occupation while another may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent's names. The introduction of surnames by the Norman aristocracy after the invasion seemed to be the next logical step in this evolution. There was a boundless supply from which surnames could be formed, in addition to the use of patriarchal/matriarchal names or reference to the individuals occupation, there were things such as defining physical traits, a familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individuals home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived, and so much more. Soon, surnames would come not just to represent an individual but whole families.
There often exists variations in spelling of many surnames, as with many given names which date back to the early centuries. The variation in spelling of both given and surnames during this time period can be attributed to a lack of continuity regarding guidelines for spelling which was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time. The variations in the spelling of the surname Grover include but not limited to; Grover; Groves; and Grove among others.
The earliest record of any variation of this surname is that of John de la Grove which appears in the Worcestershire tax rolls from 1275. These rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of King Edward I, with the oldest dating back to the 12th century. They hold the distinction of being the oldest consecutive set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom. These records span a period of over 700 years and have proven invaluable to researches over the years. Additional tax rolls show records of Osbert de la Grava from Buckinhamshire in 1197 and William Grover from Sussex in 1332. Official church records show Elizabeth Groves was christened in London in1590 and Henry Groves was christened in 1682.
The first recorded immigrant to America bearing the surname or any variation of the spelling was John Grover who arrived in 1634 and settled in Massachusetts. Samuel Grover landed and settled in New England in 1635 and Thomas Grover arrived and settled in Massachusetts in 1640.
There were also many immigrants to the British Common Wealth countries of Australia and New Zealand bearing the surname Grover. Brothers, William and Thomas Grover landed in 1851 and settled in Adelaide, Australia. Mary Grover arrived and settled in Southern Australia in 1855. Sarah Grover landed in 1865 and settled in Auckland, New Zealand as did Henry Grover in 1873 and Albert Grover in 1874. Alfred and Mary Grover arrived in 1880 and settled in Auckland, New Zealand as well.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Grover are found in India, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Grover live in Idaho and Maine.
There are many persons of note who bear the surname Grover. Major-General John Grover of the British Army was a veteran of World War I and World War II. During the first World War, Grover was wounded three times and was awarded the Military Cross. During the second World War, Grover commanded the 2nd Infantry Division which was stationed in Burma. He is credited with the devising and executing a plan that successfully removed the Japanese from a large sector of India. Before the World War II was over, he was reassigned as Director of Army Welfare Services. In recognition of his service, he was awarded the Companion of the Order of the Bath.