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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
  • James M. Rook, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 16th District, 1922
  • Elmer Rook, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Oklahoma, 1956, 1960
  • Charles A. Rook, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1908, 1920; Presidential Elector for Pennsylvania, 1916
  • Susan Rook, CNN journalist and photographer
  • Jean Kathleen Rook (1931-1991), British newspaper columnist
  • Alan Rook, editor of New Oxford Poetry, one of the Cairo poets


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.


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  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. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  2. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  3. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  5. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  7. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  8. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  9. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. 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 20 October 2015 at 11:59.

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