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

Early Origins of the Rocks family

The surname Rocks 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 Rocks family

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

Rocks 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 Rocks 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 Rocks 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 Rocks Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Rocks 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 Rocks:

Rocks Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Michell Rocks, aged 21, who arrived in Barbados in 1634 [2]
  • Anth Rocks, who landed in Virginia in 1642 [2]
Rocks Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Anna Margaret Rocks, aged 24, who landed in New York in 1710 [2]

Australia Rocks migration to Australia +

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

Rocks Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Charles Rocks, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Posthumous" in 1849 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Rocks (post 1700) +

  • M. Joseph Rocks, American Republican politician, Member of Pennsylvania State Senate 4th District, 1981-90; Candidate for Mayor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1995


The Rocks 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. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The POSTHUMOUS 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Posthumous.htm


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