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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Where did the Irish Roach family come from? What is the Irish Roach family crest and coat of arms? When did the Roach family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Roach family history?

Non-Gaelic elements made their first appearance in Irish nomenclature after the Strongbow settlers began to arrive on Irish shores. Although the Irish already had an established a system of hereditary surnames, the Anglo- Normans also brought their own traditions with them when they arrived. The two systems were not extremely conflicting, and eventually drew upon one another. Although local surnames, such as Roach, were not entirely unknown to the Irish, this form of surname was much more popular with the Strongbownians. Local names were taken from the names of a place or a geographical feature where the person lived, held land, or was born. Originally, these place names were prefixed by de, which means from in French. This type of prefix was eventually either made a part of the surname, if the place name began with a vowel, or was eliminated entirely. The local names of these Anglo-Norman invaders first referred to places in Normandy, or more typically England, but eventually for those Strongbownians or their descendents that remained in Ireland, the local names really did begin to refer to local places or geographical features of the island. The Roach family appears to have originally lived in a rocky area or near some notable rock. The surname Roach is derived from the Old French word roche, which means rock. The surname Roach belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees. The Gaelic form of the surname Roach is de Róiste.

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Church officials and medieval scribes often simply spelled names as they sounded. As a result, a single person's name may have been recorded a dozen different ways during his lifetime. Spelling variations for the name Roach include: Roche, Roach, Roache, LaRoche, LaRoach, DeLaRoach, Roack, Roch, Roiche, St.Roche, Rocheland, Rochellan and many more.

First found in County Limerick (Irish: Luimneach) located in Southwestern Ireland, in the province of Munster, where they were granted lands by Strongbow whom they accompanied into Ireland during the Anglo- Norman invasion of 1172.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Roach research. Another 193 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1588, 1929, 1st , 1743, 1807, 1st , 1791, 1865, 1833, 1908, 1845, 1914, 1911, 1977 and 1947 are included under the topic Early Roach History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 163 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Roach Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In the 1840s, Ireland experienced a mass exodus to North America due to the Great Potato Famine. These families wanted to escape from hunger and disease that was ravaging their homeland. With the promise of work, freedom and land overseas, the Irish looked upon British North America and the United States as a means of hope and prosperity. Those that survived the journey were able to achieve this through much hard work and perseverance. Early immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Roach:

Roach Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • William Roach settled in Virginia in 1707
  • Ellen Roach, who landed in Virginia in 1711
  • Kat Roach, who arrived in Virginia in 1712
  • James Roach, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1763
  • Moses Roach, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1765


Roach Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Samuel Roach, who landed in New York in 1826
  • Margaret Roach, aged 26, arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1834
  • Sarah Roach, who arrived in New York in 1837
  • John Roach, aged 29, landed in Missouri in 1842
  • Elizabeth Roach, who arrived in New York, NY in 1846


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  • John Roach (1921-2003), American bishop in the Catholic Church
  • Max Roach (1924-2007), American jazz percussionist, drummer, and composer who worked with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and others
  • AJ Roach (b. 1975), American singer-songwriter
  • Steve Roach (b. 1955), American composer and performer of ambient, electronic music
  • Freddie Roach (b. 1960), American boxing trainer
  • Harold Eugene "Hal" Roach Sr. (1892-1992), American film and television producer and director who worked with Laurel and Hardy, Charley Chase and the Our Gang kids, founder of Hal Roach Studios
  • Jamie Lee Roach (1955-2011), American commercial designer who designed American Trade Center in Moscow and many buildings in Southern California
  • Hal Roach (1927-2012), Irish comedian from Waterford, featured in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest-running engagement of a comedian at the same venue: 26 years
  • Patrick Roach (b. 1969), Canadian actor from Newfoundland, best known for his work in Trailer Park Boys
  • Danny Roach (b. 1982), Australian rules football player

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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Mon Dieu est ma roche
Motto Translation: My God is my rock.

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  1. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  2. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  3. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  4. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  5. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  6. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  7. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  8. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  9. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  10. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  11. ...

The Roach Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Roach Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 1 July 2014 at 13:14.

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