Roche 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 Roche, 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 Roche family appears to have originally lived in a rocky area or near some notable rock. The surname Roche is derived from the Old French word roche, which means rock. The surname Roche 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 Roche is de Róiste.

Early Origins of the Roche family

The surname Roche 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 Roche family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Roche 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 Roche History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Roche Spelling Variations

During the Middle Ages, a single person often had their name recorded by church officials and scribes many different ways. Names were typically spelt as they sounded, which resulted in many different spelling variations. The many versions of the name Roche to have been recorded over the years include: Roche, Roach, Roache, LaRoche, LaRoach, DeLaRoach, Roack, Roch, Roiche, St.Roche, Rocheland, Rochellan and many more.

Early Notables of the Roche 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 Roche Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Roche migration to the United States +

Ireland's Great Potato Famine left the country's inhabitants in extreme poverty and starvation. Many families left their homeland for North America for the promise of work, freedom and land ownership. Although the Irish were not free of economic and racial discrimination in North America, they did contribute greatly to the rapid development of bridges, canals, roads, and railways. Eventually, they would be accepted in other areas such as commerce, education, and the arts. An examination of immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Roche:

Roche Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • James Roche, who settled in Virginia in 1637
  • Charles DeLa Roche, who arrived in Maryland in 1666-1750 [2]
Roche Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Suzanna Roche, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1702 [2]
  • Louis De Roche, aged 26, who arrived in Louisiana in 1719 [2]
  • Mary Roche, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1767 [2]
Roche Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Roche, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [2]
  • David Roche, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [2]
  • James Roche, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [2]
  • John Roche, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [2]
  • Edward L Roche, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1824 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Roche migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Roche Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
  • Roch Roche, who arrived in Acadia in 1636
  • Mr. Jacques Roche, French settler travelling to Canada for work arriving on 2nd April 1665 [3]
Roche Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Cornelius Roche, who landed in Canada in 1823
  • Denis Roche, who landed in Canada in 1823
  • Thomas Roche, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1829
  • Edmond Roche, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1830
  • Bridget Ronan Roche, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1831
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Roche migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Roche Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Eliza Roche, aged 19, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Constance" [4]
  • Elisa Roche, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Constance" in 1849 [4]
  • Mary Roche, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "William Watson" in 1849 [5]
  • Margaret Roche, aged 20, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Grand Trianon"
  • Johanna Roche, aged 22, a dairymaid, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Admiral Boxer"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Roche 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:

Roche Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Charles Roche, aged 40, a painter, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Eveline" in 1865
  • Mary Roche, aged 30, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Eveline" in 1865
  • William Roche, aged 6, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Eveline" in 1865
  • Francis Roche, aged 5, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Eveline" in 1865
  • Mr. Charles Roche, South African settler travelling from Cape Town aboard the ship "Eveline" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 22nd January 1865 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Roche (post 1700) +

  • Eamonn Kevin Roche FAIA (1922-2019), Irish-born, American Pritzker Prize-winning architect
  • Eugene Harrison Roche (1928-2004), American actor, best known as the original "Ajax Man" in 1970s television commercials
  • Kevin Roche (b. 1922), Irish-born, American Pritzker Prize-winning architect
  • Joseph Roche (b. 1967), American Iraq War veteran and conservative commentator
  • Frank Lloyd Roche (b. 1959), American writer and businessman
  • James G. Roche (b. 1939), American 20th Secretary of the Air Force
  • Dominick H. Roche, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Kings County 3rd District, 1871-73
  • Daniel Roche, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Michigan 4th District, 1986
  • Chali Roche, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Jersey, 1980
  • Carl D. Roche, American Democrat politician, Member of New Hampshire State House of Representatives from Keene 5th Ward; Elected 1938
  • ... (Another 50 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales


The Roche 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. ^ Debien, Gabriel. Liste Des Engagés Pour Le Canada Au XVIIe Siècle. Vol. 6, Laval University, 1952. (Retreived 24th May 2018). Retrieved from https://lebloguedeguyperron.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/130-liste-des-contrats-dengagement-pour-la-nouvelle-france-releves-a-la-rochelle-entre-1634-et-1679/
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CONSTANCE 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Constance.htm
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The barque WILLIAM WATSON 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849WilliamWatson.htm
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html


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