England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The surname Rolphe derives from the Middle English personal (pre-surname) name Rolf. It is thought that the earliest origins of the name are Nordic, and that the name reached England in both pre-Norman Nordic invasion, and with the Normans.
Early Origins of the Rolphe family
Norfolk where they held a family seat from early times, soon after the Norman Conquest by Duke William of Normandy in 1066 A.D.
Early History of the Rolphe family
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Rolphe Spelling Variations
spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Roffe, Rolfe, Rolph, Rolphe, Roalph and others.
Early Notables of the Rolphe family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Rolphe family to the New World and Oceana
For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Rolphe or a variant listed above were: James Rolfe and his wife Elizabeth Rolfe, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 with their son; Barbary Rofe who settled in New England in 1635; William Rofe, who arrived in Barbados in 1635.
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