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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The name Rich was brought to England in the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Rich family lived in Hampshire. Their name, however, is a reference to Riche, in Lorraine, France, the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. Another equally valid derivation of the name suggests that it is patronymic, which means it was adapted from the first name of the original bearer's father. According to this version it comes from the Norman personal name Richard. Rich is a classic example of an English polygenetic surname, which is a surname that was developed in a number of different locations and adopted by various families independently.


Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Rich have been found, including Rich, Riche, Richin, Riching, Richins, Richings and others.

First found in Hampshire where the first on record include Edmund Rich, Saint Edmund (1175-1240) English churchman, who became Archbishop of Canterbury; and Thomas filius Ricun, who was in the Rotuli Hundredorum in Huntingdonshire in 1274.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rich research. Another 219 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1547, 1496, 1567, 1540, 1620, 1594, 1675, 1640, 1587, 1658, 1611, 1659, 1660, 1619, 1673, 1625, 1678, 1601, 1667, 1660, 1648, 1699, 1689, 1699, 1692, 1699, 1657 and 1714 are included under the topic Early Rich History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 313 words (22 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rich Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Rich family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 43 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


For many English families, the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Rich were among those contributors:

Rich Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Robert Rich, who landed in Bermuda in 1609-1610
  • Cutberd Rich, who arrived in Virginia in 1636
  • Susan Rich, who landed in Maryland in 1652
  • Walter Rich, who landed in Virginia in 1653
  • Abraham Rich, who arrived in Virginia in 1653

Rich Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • John Rich, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1751
  • Michael Rich, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1754
  • Jacob Rich, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1760
  • Thomas Rich, who arrived in North Carolina in 1764
  • Henry Rich, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1765

Rich Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Godfrey Rich, aged 21, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1805
  • Barnabas Rich, who landed in America in 1823
  • David Rich, who landed in New York in 1832
  • William Rich, who arrived in New York in 1832
  • Catherine Rich, aged 54, arrived in New York in 1849

Rich Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Gustavus Rich, who landed in Canada in 1834

Rich Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Richard Rich arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Aboukir" in 1847
  • Henry Rich arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Navarino" in 1848
  • Benjamin Rich, aged 25, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Marion"
  • Joseph Rich, aged 27, arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Thetis"
  • William Rich, aged 33, a farmer, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Olivia"


  • Ralph McMaster Rich (1916-1942), American aviator of the United States Navy during World War II, eponym of USS Rich (DD-820), a Gearing-class destroyer and the USS Rich (DE-695), a Buckley-class destroyer escort
  • Alexander Rich MD (b. 1924), American biologist and biophysicist
  • Major William Rich (1800-1864), American botanist and explorer, member of the United States Exploring Expedition of 18381842, eponym of Rich Passage, Washington
  • Bernard "Buddy" Rich (1917-1987), American jazz drummer and bandleader, billed as "the world's greatest drummer"
  • Charlie Rich (1932-1995), American country musician
  • Adrienne Rich (b. 1929), American poet
  • Mr. W. Rich (1893-1917), Welsh 3rd Engineer aboard the SS Curaca from Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Marc Rich (1934-2013), born Marcell David Reich, Belgium-born international commodities trader, hedge fund manager, financier and businessman
  • Daniel Rich (b. 1990), current Australian rules football player
  • Sir George Edward Rich KCMG PC (1863-1956), Australian judge, Justice of the High Court of Australia. (1913-1950)



  • Holway-Rich Heritage: A History and Genealogy of Two Cape Cod Families by Richard Thomas Holway.
  • Stepehens Ancestors and Pioneer Relatives: the Stewart, Rich, and Other Families of the 1800's by Clyde S. Stephens.

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: Garde la foy
Motto Translation: Keep the faith.


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  1. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  5. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  6. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  7. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  8. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  10. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  11. ...

The Rich Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Rich 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 31 March 2016 at 17:55.

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