Roch History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Non-Gaelic elements made their first appearance in Irish nomenclature after the Strongbow settlers began to arrive on Irish shores. Although the Irish already had an established a system of hereditary surnames, the Anglo- Normans also brought their own traditions with them when they arrived. The two systems were not extremely conflicting, and eventually drew upon one another. Although local surnames, such as Roch, were not entirely unknown to the Irish, this form of surname was much more popular with the Strongbownians. Local names were taken from the names of a place or a geographical feature where the person lived, held land, or was born. Originally, these place names were prefixed by de, which means from in French. This type of prefix was eventually either made a part of the surname, if the place name began with a vowel, or was eliminated entirely. The local names of these Anglo-Norman invaders first referred to places in Normandy, or more typically England, but eventually for those Strongbownians or their descendents that remained in Ireland, the local names really did begin to refer to local places or geographical features of the island. The Roch family appears to have originally lived in a rocky area or near some notable rock. The surname Roch is derived from the Old French word roche, which means rock. The surname Roch belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees. The Gaelic form of the surname Roch is de Róiste.

Early Origins of the Roch family

The surname Roch was first found in County Limerick (Irish: Luimneach) located in Southwestern Ireland, in the province of Munster, where they were granted lands by Strongbow whom they accompanied into Ireland during the Anglo- Norman invasion of 1172.

This was about the time that "the manor of Tregarrick or Tregorrick alias Treroche, belonged, prior to the Norman Conquest, to an ancient British family thence denominated Treroche, and afterwards De Rupe, or De la Roche. Of this family, Ralph de Rupe held in Cornwall by the tenure of knight service, three knight's fees of land in 1189. Another of this family according to tradition, was an officer in the Irish war under John John, Earl of Moreton and Cornwall; and when the latter became king of England, the former was again employed on a similar expedition, in which he acquitted himself so much to the satisfaction of his royal master, that he was rewarded with the forfeited lands of various rebels. This enabled him to build the castle of Roche in that country in 1220, and to become the head of the distinguished family of De Roche in Ireland." [1]

Early History of the Roch family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Roch research. Another 97 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1588, 1929, 1573, 1635, 1600, 1595, 1660, 1624, 1640, 1643, 1576, 1629 and 1594 are included under the topic Early Roch History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Roch Spelling Variations

Since church officials and medieval scribes spelt each name as it sounded to them; as a result, a single person could accumulate many different versions of his name within official records. A close examination of the origins of the name Roch revealed the following spelling variations: Roche, Roach, Roache, LaRoche, LaRoach, DeLaRoach, Roack, Roch, Roiche, St.Roche, Rocheland, Rochellan and many more.

Early Notables of the Roch family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family up to this time was Blessed John Roche (also known as John Neele or Neale), an Irish Catholic martyr, who died in London, England in 1588, he is the patron of sailors, mariners and boatmen, beatified in 1929. David Roche (1573-1635), Viscount Fermoy, was son and heir of Maurice, Viscount Fermoy. David succeeded to the title on his father's death in June 1600. During the rebellion of Hugh O'Neill, second earl of Tyrone [q. v.], Roche signalised himself by his loyalty, and...
Another 84 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Roch Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Roch migration to the United States +

During the middle of the 19th century, Irish families often experienced extreme poverty and racial discrimination in their own homeland under English rule. Record numbers died of disease and starvation and many others, deciding against such a fate, boarded ships bound for North America. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Unfortunately, many of those Irish that arrived in Canada or the United States still experienced economic and racial discrimination. Although often maligned, these Irish people were essential to the rapid development of these countries because they provided the cheap labor required for the many canals, roads, railways, and other projects required for strong national infrastructures. Eventually the Irish went on to make contributions in the less backbreaking and more intellectual arenas of commerce, education, and the arts. Research early immigration and passenger lists revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Roch:

Roch Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Roch, who landed in Virginia in 1643 [2]
  • Symon Roch, who landed in Virginia in 1654 [2]
  • Morris Roch, who arrived in Virginia in 1656 [2]
  • David Roch, who arrived in Virginia in 1661 [2]
Roch Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Cath Roch, who landed in Virginia in 1715 [2]
  • Elizabeth Roch, who landed in Virginia in 1725 [2]
  • Mary Roch, who landed in Virginia in 1725 [2]
  • Henrey Roch, aged 20, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732 [2]
  • Jurick Mich Roch, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1738 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Roch Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Jacob Roch, aged 23, who landed in New York, NY in 1847 [2]

Canada Roch migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Roch Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Paul Moritz Roch, who landed in Quebec in 1850

New Zealand Roch migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Roch Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Hungerford Roch, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ida Zeigler" in 1863

Contemporary Notables of the name Roch (post 1700) +

  • Emelien Roch (1864-1925), American Democrat politician, Physician; Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Thompson, 1918, 1920
  • René Roch (1929-2018), French fencing sport official, President of Fédération Internationale d'Escrime (1992-2008)
  • Gustav Roch (1839-1866), German mathematician who made significant contributions to the theory of Riemann surfaces; he died at the age 26 from tuberculosis
  • Gilles Roch (b. 1952), Canadian politician, member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba from 1986 to 1990
  • Walter Francis Roch (1880-1965), Welsh politician, Member of Parliament for Pembrokeshire (1908–1918)
  • André Roch (1906-2002), Swiss mountaineer, avalanche expert, skier and resort developer
  • François Roch Ledru des Essarts, French Divisional General during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars from 1789 to 1815 [3]
  • Roch Pedneault (1927-2018), Canadian prelate, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicoutimi (1974–2002)
  • Roch La Salle PC (1928-2007), Canadian politician who represented the riding of Joliette in the Canadian House of Commons
  • Roch Godart, French Brigadier General during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars from 1789 to 1815 [4]

Bismarck
  • Herbert Roch (1918-1941), German Bootsmaat who served aboard the German Battleship Bismarck during World War II when it was sunk heading to France; he died in the sinking [5]


The Roch 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: Mon Dieu est ma roche
Motto Translation: My God is my rock.


  1. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. 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. ^ Generals Who Served in the French Army during the Period 1789-1815. (Retrieved 2015, April 8) François Ledru. Retrieved from http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/c_frenchgenerals.html
  4. ^ Generals Who Served in the French Army during the Period 1789-1815. (Retrieved 2015, March 6) Roch Godart. Retrieved from http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/c_frenchgenerals.html
  5. ^ Bismarck & Tirpitz Class - Crew List Bismarck. (Retrieved 2018, February 06). Retrieved from https://www.bismarck-class.dk/bismarck/crew/bismarck_crew.html#crew_details


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