Roark History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Roark family

The surname Roark was 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.

Of note was Tiernan O'Rourke (d. 1172), King of Breifne, called in Irish Tighearnan Ua Ruairc; he was head of the clans known as the Ui Briuin, or as the race of Aedh finn, and ruled Breifne. He first appears in the chronicles in 1124, and at that date had a son, Gillabroide, who was slain in battle with the Connaughtmen. O'Rourke had a considerable body of cavalry, and was defeated by a similar force under Conchobhar MacLochlainn at Ardee, co. Louth, in 1128. In 1130 he defeated and slew Diarmait O'Maelsechlainn, king of Meath, at Slieve Guaire, co. Cavan, and in the following year he ravaged Cuailgne and Omeath, then districts of Ulster, now in the co. Louth. [1]

Nineteen other chiefs or tanists named Tiernan O'Rourke occur in the Irish chronicles, of whom the most important was chief of the race of Aedh finn and of Breifne, married Aine, daughter of Tadhg MacDonnchaidh, and died in 1467. [1]

Early History of the Roark family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Roark research. Another 128 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1046, 1172, 1771, 1591, 1532, 1536, 1562, 1562, 1564, 1566, 1576, 1578 and 1578 are included under the topic Early Roark History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Roark Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Roark family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family name at this time was Sir Brian-Na-Murtha O'Rourke (d. 1591), Irish chieftain, a younger son of Brian Ballagh O'Rourke. "His grandfather, Owen O'Rourke, who was ‘chief of his name,’ was slain at Dromore in 1532, his son Brian Ballagh, ‘the speckled or freckled,’ being declared the O'Rourke in 1536. Brian Ballagh spent a life of constant fighting against his kinsmen and the English, and died in consequence of a fall in 1562; he ‘had the best collection of poems, and of all his tribe had bestowed the greatest number of presents for poetical eulogies;’ he was ‘senior...
Another 258 words (18 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Roark Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Roark migration to the United States +

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 [2]
  • Henry Roark, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1773 [2]
  • 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 [2]
  • Russell Roark, who arrived in Texas in 1835 [2]
  • William Roark, who landed in Texas in 1835 [2]
  • John Roark, who arrived in Texas in 1835 [2]
  • James O Roark, who landed in Arkansas in 1887 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
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 immigrated to the United States from Dunmore, Ireland, in 1911

Contemporary Notables of the name Roark (post 1700) +

  • James Roark (1946-1995), American Pulitzer Prize nominated photographer and photo editor for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner
  • Anund C. Roark (1948-1968), United States Army soldier, posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War; he smothered an enemy hand grenade with is body protecting his fellow soldiers
  • Garland Roark (1904-1985), American author best known for his nautical/adventure fiction
  • Michelle Roark (b. 1974), American freestyle skier
  • William Marshall Roark (1943-1965), American fighter pilot killed over North Vietnam, eponym of the Roark (FF-1053)
  • Lester D. Roark, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from North Carolina 10th District, 1986 [3]
  • Keith Roark, American Democrat politician, Idaho Democratic State Chair, 2008; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Idaho, 2008 [3]
  • James E. Roark (b. 1945), American Republican politician, Mayor of Charleston, West Virginia, 1983-87; Resigned 1987 [3]
  • Clarence N. Roark, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Colorado, 1956 [3]
  • Charles Wickliffe Roark (1887-1929), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Kentucky, 1928; U.S. Representative from Kentucky 3rd District, 1929 [3]
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Roark 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: Serviendo guberno
Motto Translation: I govern by serving.

  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 19) . Retrieved from on Facebook
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