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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Italian

The ancestors of the Rosson family brought their name to England in the wave of migration after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They lived in Yorkshire, at Rostherne. Rawsthorn is derived from Old Norman names that mean red, and torn. Accordingly, the name means dweller by the thorns.


The surname Rosson was first found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the manor of Fryston, and were conjecturally descended from Gerbodo, a Norman noble, who held those lands at the time of the taking of the Domesday Book in 1086, a census initiated by Duke William of Normandy after his conquest of England in 1066. This family emerged with several basic spellings, Rawson, which became popular in Yorkshire in all their various branches, Rawsthorne and Rawstorne and Rostron and Rawstorn all became more popular in Lancashire.

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Rosson were recorded, including Rawstorne, Rawsthorne, Rawstorn, Rawstron, Rawstrone, Rawsthorn, Rostron and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rosson research. Another 210 words (15 lines of text) covering the year 1683 is included under the topic Early Rosson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


More information is included under the topic Early Rosson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Rosson arrived in North America very early: Richard Rawston, who arrived in Maryland in 1678; John Rawthorne, who settled in Maryland in 1756; and Robert Rawsthorne, who arrived in New York in 1884..


  • Mary Beth Rosson, American Professor at the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology
  • General William Bradford Rosson (1918-2004), American Commander of the U.S. Army, Pacific from October 1970 to January 1973
  • Richard Rosson (1893-1953), American film director and actor, brother of Helene Rosson
  • Harold "Hal" Rosson (1895-1988), American five-time Academy Award nominated cinematographer
  • Arthur Rosson (1886-1960), English-born, American director, brother of cinematographer Hal Rosson
  • Queenie Rosson (1889-1978), American silent film actress who starred in 20 silent films
  • Helene M Rosson (1897-1985), American silent film actress who starred in 37 films
  • R. L. Rosson, American politician, Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona, 1895-96
  • Peggy Rosson, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Texas State Senate 29th District
  • Richard Rosson, British balloon artist, retired contortionist, actor and yoga teacher who used the stage name Rubber Ritchie

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    Other References

    1. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
    2. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
    3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    4. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
    5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
    7. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
    8. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
    9. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
    11. ...

    The Rosson Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Rosson Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

    This page was last modified on 9 March 2016 at 13:23.

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