Rooks History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Rooks has a history dating as far back as the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It was a name for a person who because of their physical characteristics was known as a rook. A broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, nickname surnames referred to a characteristic of the first person who used the name. They can describe the bearer's favored style of clothing, appearance, habits, or character. In this case the surname refers to those individuals who have black hair or dark complexions.

Early Origins of the Rooks family

The surname Rooks was first found in Oxfordshire where Geoffrey le Roke, William le Ruk and Adam le Roc were all listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. A few years later during the rule of King Edward III (1312-1377), Richard le Rouke and Hugh le Rook were listed as holding lands in Somerset. [1]

Early History of the Rooks family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rooks research. Another 141 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1606, 1820, 1650, 1709, 1704, 1622 and 1662 are included under the topic Early Rooks History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Rooks Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Rooks have been found, including Rook, Rooke, Rookes, Rooks, Roke and others.

Early Notables of the Rooks family (pre 1700)

Another 46 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rooks Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Rooks Ranking

In the United States, the name Rooks is the 5,145th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [2]

United States Rooks migration to the United States +

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Rooks, or a variant listed above:

Rooks Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Rooks, who settled in Virginia in 1638
Rooks Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Aleida Rooks, aged 8, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1847 [3]
  • Catharina Rooks, who landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1847 [3]
  • Gerrit Rooks, aged 6, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1847 [3]
  • Harmen Rooks, aged 30, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1847 [3]
  • Hendrika Rooks, aged 17, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1847 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Rooks 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:

Rooks Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Rooks, aged 29, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hurunui" in 1877
  • Anne Rooks, aged 21, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hurunui" in 1877
  • George Rooks, aged 18, a timekeeper, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hurunui" in 1877

West Indies Rooks migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [4]
Rooks Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • William Rooks, who settled in St. Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1660

Contemporary Notables of the name Rooks (post 1700) +

  • Major-General Lowell Ward Rooks (1893-1973), American Commanding General 90th Division, North-West Europe (1942-1945) [5]
  • Conrad Rooks (b. 1934), American writer, director and producer
  • Sean Lester Rooks (b. 1969), retired American NBA basketball player
  • Sanford Rooks Jr., American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Florida, 2000 [6]
  • Irvin Rooks, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1936 [6]
  • Steven Rooks (b. 1960), retired Dutch professional road racing cyclist
  • Captain Albert Harold Rooks (1891-1942), Captain in the United States Navy who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1942

The Rooks 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: Efflorescent cornices dum micat sol
Motto Translation: Rooks will flourish while the sun shines.

Suggested Readings for the name Rooks +

  • The Final Irony by Katherine Lane Nicholas.
  • Thatcher, Buckmaster and Rooks Genealogy, and Allied Families by Nellie Thatcher.

  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^
  5. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) Lowell Rooks. Retrieved from
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 20) . Retrieved from on Facebook