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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English-Alt, English


The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought many new words to England from which surnames were formed. Rowe was one of these new Norman names. It was specifically tailored to its first bearer, who was a person with red hair. Looking back even further, we found the name was originally derived from the Old French nickname le rous, meaning redhead.

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The surname Rowe was first found in Norfolk where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Rowe, Roe, Row and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rowe research. Another 241 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1581, 1644, 1559, 1592, 1661, 1592, 1607, 1674, 1718, 1715, 1626, 1677, 1654, 1657, 1705, 1640, 1719, 1674, 1737, 1641 and 1717 are included under the topic Early Rowe History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 285 words (20 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rowe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Rowe family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 123 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Rowe or a variant listed above:

Rowe Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Mary Rowe, who landed in Virginia in 1620
  • Mary Rowe and her husband settled in Virginia in 1624
  • Henry Rowe settled in Boston in 1630
  • Nicholas Rowe, who landed in Portsmouth, NH in 1640
  • Matthew Rowe, who arrived in New Haven, Conn in 1650


Rowe Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Jacob Rowe, who arrived in Virginia in 1758

Rowe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Frederick Rowe, who arrived in Maryland in 1804
  • Peter Rowe, aged 23, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Robert Rowe, aged 32, landed in New York in 1812
  • Pierce Rowe settled in Charleston in 1820
  • George Rowe, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1834


Rowe Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Sgt. John Rowe U.E. who settled in Home District [York County], Ontario c. 1786 he served in Butlers Rangers

Rowe Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Mary Rowe, aged 21, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "Perceval" from Plymouth

Rowe Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • James Buttress Rowe arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "South Australain" in 1837
  • Jane Rowe arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "South Australain" in 1837
  • James Rowe arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "South Australain" in 1837
  • Sophia Rowe arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "South Australain" in 1837
  • John Rowe arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Recovery" in 1839


Rowe Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • William Rowe, aged 39, a labourer, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Gertrude" in 1841
  • Frances Rowe, aged 38, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Gertrude" in 1841
  • Anthony Rowe, aged 21, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Olympus" in 1842
  • Matthias Rowe arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lord Burleigh" in 1856
  • H. Rowe arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lord Burleigh" in 1856


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  • Zebulon Rowe, American Democrat politician, Postmaster at Presque Isle, Maine, 1857-59
  • Winthrope Price Rowe (1929-2011), American Democrat politician, University professor; Chair of Ingham County Democratic Party, 1972
  • William H. Rowe, American Republican politician, Member of Maine State House of Representatives from Cumberland County, 1919-20
  • William H. Rowe, American politician, Delegate to North Dakota State Constitutional Convention from Dickey County, 1889
  • William G. Rowe, American politician, Mayor of Reading, Pennsylvania, 1881-85
  • William Rowe, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1960
  • Willette L. Rowe, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Washington, 2000
  • W. H. Rowe, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Minnesota, 1896
  • Thompson T. Rowe, American politician, Mayor of Billings, Montana, 1949-53
  • Thomas Rowe (b. 1848), American Democrat politician, Member of Vermont State House of Representatives from Lemington, 1888

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  • The Marriage of Catherine & David: a History of Southwestern Pennsylvania Families by LaVonne R. Hanlon.
  • The Families of Johann Martin Rau and Johann Conrad Bohne by Nancy Ann Dietrich.
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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: Innocens non timidus
Motto Translation: Innocent but not fearful.

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  1. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  2. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  3. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  4. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  8. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  9. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  10. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  11. ...

The Rowe Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Rowe 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 6 April 2016 at 16:06.

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