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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

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

The ancestors of the Rook family lived among the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. Rook was a name given to a person who because of their physical characteristics was known as a rook. A broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, nickname surnames referred to a characteristic of the first person who used the name. They can describe the bearer's favored style of clothing, appearance, habits, or character. In this case the surname refers to those individuals who have black hair or dark complexions.


Rook has been spelled many different ways, including Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Rook, Rooke, Rookes, Rooks, Roke and others.

First found in Oxfordshire where Geoffrey le Roke, William le Ruk and Adam le Roc were all listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. A few years later during the rule of King Edward III (1312-1377), Richard le Rouke and Hugh le Rook were listed as holding lands in Somerset. [1]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rook research. Another 203 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1650, 1709, 1704, 1622 and 1662 are included under the topic Early Rook History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 81 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rook Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Rooks to arrive on North American shores:

Rook Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • George Rook, aged 21, landed in Barbados in 1684

Rook Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Michael Rook, who landed in Virginia in 1704
  • Sarah Rook, who arrived in Virginia in 1717
  • Joan Jacob Rook, aged 32, landed in Pennsylvania in 1732

Rook Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Anton A Rook, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1802
  • Augustine Rook, aged 31, arrived in Kennebunk, Me in 1830
  • Frederick Rook, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1836
  • William Rook, who landed in New York in 1844
  • Henry J Rook, who arrived in Somerset County, Pennsylvania in 1848

Rook Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Lawrence Rook, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Joseph Rook, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750

Rook Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Rook, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 29, 1828, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Thomas Rook, English convict from Worcester, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 29, 1828, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Thomas G. Rook, aged 42, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Standard"
  • Mary Rook, aged 16, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Standard"
  • Henry Rook, aged 19, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Stamboul"


  • Jerry Rook (b. 1943), American former professional basketball player
  • Alan Rook, editor of New Oxford Poetry, one of the Cairo poets
  • Jean Kathleen Rook (1931-1991), British newspaper columnist
  • Susan Rook, CNN journalist and photographer


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: Efflorescent cornices dum micat sol
Motto Translation: Rooks will flourish while the sun shines.



  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)

Other References

  1. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  2. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  4. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  5. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  6. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  7. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  8. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  10. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  11. ...

The Rook Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Rook 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 24 November 2014 at 11:17.

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