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

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

The Irish name Roark has a long Gaelic heritage to its credit. The original Gaelic form of the name Roark is O Ruairc, which means descendant of Ruairc and; Ruairc is a personal name imported by Norse settlers.


The recording of names in Ireland during the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. Since the general population did not know how to read or write, they could only specify how their names should be recorded orally. Research into the name Roark revealed spelling variations, including O'Rourke, O'Rorke, O'Rork, O'Rourk, O'Roark, Rourke, Rorke, Rourk, Roarke and many more.

First found in counties Cavan and Leitrim (Irish: Liatroim) anciently the western half of the kingdom of Breifne, located in Northeastern Ireland, in Leinster province.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Roark research. Another 240 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1046, 1172, and 1771 are included under the topic Early Roark History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Roark Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


In the 19th century, thousands of Irish left their English-occupied homeland for North America. Like most new world settlers, the Irish initially settled on the eastern shores of the continent but began to move westward with the promise of owning land. The height of this Irish migration came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. With apparently nothing to lose, Irish people left on ships bound for North America and Australia. Unfortunately a great many of these passengers lost their lives - the only thing many had left - to disease, starvation, and accidents during the long and dangerous journey. Those who did safely arrive in "the land of opportunities" were often used for the hard labor of building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. The Irish were critical to the quick development of the infrastructure of the United States and Canada. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the Roark family came to North America quite early:

Roark Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Edward Roark, who landed in Virginia in 1705
  • Henry Roark, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1773
  • Henry Roark who settled in Pennsylvania in 1773

Roark Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Mary Roark, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • Russell Roark, who arrived in Texas in 1835
  • William Roark, who landed in Texas in 1835
  • John Roark, who arrived in Texas in 1835
  • James O Roark, who landed in Arkansas in 1887

Roark Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Margt. Roark, aged 38, who landed in America from Thornton, in 1904
  • Katie Roark, aged 15, who settled in America from Swinford, Ireland, in 1907
  • Michael Roark, aged 26, who emigrated to the United States from Dunmore, Ireland, in 1911


  • William Marshall Roark (1943-1965), American fighter pilot killed over North Vietnam, eponym of the Roark (FF-1053)
  • Michelle Roark (b. 1974), American freestyle skier
  • Garland Roark (1904-1985), American author best known for his nautical/adventure fiction
  • James Roark (1946-1995), American Pulitzer Prize nominated photographer and photo editor for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner
  • Charles Wickliffe Roark (1887-1929), U.S. Representative from Kentucky
  • Anund C. Roark (1948-1968), United States Army soldier
  • Captain C. T. I. Roark (1897-1939), English international Polo player


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: Serviendo guberno
Motto Translation: I govern by serving.


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  1. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  2. 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).
  3. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  4. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  5. 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.
  6. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  7. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. 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.
  9. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  10. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  11. ...

The Roark Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Roark 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 5 April 2014 at 17:32.

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