Rhode History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Rhode came to England with the ancestors of the Rhode family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Rhode family lived in Lincolnshire at Rhoades, but more often than not, the name originates in the West Riding of Yorkshire. [1] The name literally means "dweller by the clearing(s)" from the Old English word "rod(u)." [2] As to confirm this meaning of the name, another source notes "a topographic name for someone who lived by a clearing in the woodland." [3] [4] Accordingly, one must dispel the rather obvious assumption that the name was derived from Rhodes, in the Mediterranean Sea. [5]

The Rhodes Scholarship is an international postgraduate award for students to study at the University of Oxford that was established in 1902, by English businessman and politician Cecil John Rhodes (1853-1902.)

Early Origins of the Rhode family

The surname Rhode was first found in Yorkshire. "Roads is a numerous Bucks [(Buckinghamshire)] name. There are hamlets and villages called Rhodes in Lancashire and the West Riding. A family named Rodes or De Rodes flourished for 500 or 600 years in Lincolnshire, Notts [(Nottinghamshire)], Yorkshire, and Derbyshire: they were descended from Gerard de Rodes, a distinguished Baron of the 12th century. " [1]

While we can find places named Rhodes in the United States, Australia and South Africa, we cannot find any in England today, nor can we find Rhoades in Lincolnshire. However, a second source notes the Yorkshire reference as follows: "This was a common Yorkshire entry, and explains the large number of Rhodes in the West Riding Directory." [6]

As if to help us through this confusion, one source confirms that the first listing of the name was indeed found in Yorkshire as in Hugh de Rodes who was listed in the Assize Rolls of Yorkshire in 1219. A few years later, Alexander de la rode was listed in 1277 in Norfolk. John atte Rode was listed in Bedfordshire in 1294 and Robert del Rodes was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire in 1332. [2]

Early History of the Rhode family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rhode research. Another 119 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1591, 1550, 1674, 1668, 1663 and 1664 are included under the topic Early Rhode History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Rhode Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Rhode are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Rhode include Rhodes, Rhoades, Rhode, Rhoads, Roades, Roads and others.

Early Notables of the Rhode family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Hugh Rhodes ( fl. 1550), an English author of the 'Book of Nurture,' 'born and bred in' Devonshire, a gentleman of the king's chapel. [7] John Rhoades, was an early American fur trader from New England, who was part of Jurriaen...
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rhode Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Rhode migration to the United States +

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Rhode, or a variant listed above:

Rhode Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robert Rhode, who arrived in Maryland in 1668 [8]
  • Johan Georg Rhode, who arrived in America in 1699 [8]
Rhode Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Rhode, who settled in Virginia with his wife and three children in 1709
  • Phillip Rhode, who settled in Virginia with his wife and four children in 1709
  • Jeremiah Rhode, aged 48, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1738 [8]
  • Philip Rhode, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1762 [8]
  • Franziska Rhode, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1764 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Rhode Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Heinrich Rhode, who arrived in Galveston, Tex in 1850 [8]
  • Heronimus Rhode, aged 24, who landed in New York in 1854 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Rhode (post 1700) +

  • Kimberly Susan "Kim" Rhode (b. 1979), American three-time Olympic gold medalist double trap and skeet shooter at the 1996, 2004 and 2012 Summer Olympics
  • Ruth Rhode (1885-1954), American diplomat and feminist
  • Rhode Montijo, American independent comic-book artist


The Rhode Motto +

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: Robor meum Deus
Motto Translation: Strength through God.


  1. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Hanks Patricia, Flavia Hodges, Mills A.D., Room Adrian, The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7)
  4. ^ Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
  5. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  8. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


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