Rowland History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Rowland surname comes from the Norman personal name Rol(l)an, which derives from the Germanic elements "hrod," meaning "renown," and "land," meaning "territory." Much of the Medieval popularity of this name was as a result of Roland (d. 778), a Frankish military leader under Charlemagne who was defeated at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in 778. The Song of Roland thought to have been written between 1040 and 1115 is an epic poem based the battle.

Early Origins of the Rowland family

The surname Rowland was first found in Bedfordshire (Old English: Bedanfordscir), located in Southeast-central England, formerly part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, where a record in the Domesday Book of 1086 lists Rolland as being a landholder in Beeston (Bistone). [1]

They were in neighboring Huntingdonshire from the early 12th century. The Domesday Book also lists Ralunt (Rowland) in Derbyshire.

One source states "A baptismal name as in 'the son of Roland.' Roland or Orlando was the nephew of the great Charles, who fell at Roncesvalles." [2] This latter reference is derived from The Miscellaneous Prose Works of Sir Walter Scott (Vol IV) and we shall now provide it in a more complete context. "No reader can have forgotten, that when the decisive battle of Hastings commenced, a Norman minstrel, Taillefer, advanced on horseback before the invading host and gave the signal for onset, by singing the 'Song of Roland,' that renowned nephew of Charlamagne, of whom the chivalry of Charles the Great in the pass of Roncesvalles, has given rise to such clouds of romantic fiction, that its very name has been for ever associated with it. The remarkable passage has been often quoted from the 'Brut of Wace,' an Anglo-Norman metrical chronicle. 'Taillefer, who sung both well and loud, Came mounted on a courser proud; Before the Duke the minstrel sprung. And loud of Charles and Roland sung, Of Oliver and champions mo, Who died at fatal Roncevaux.'"

Early History of the Rowland family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rowland research. Another 121 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1196, 1218, 1221, 1303, 1327, 1601, 1602, 1565, 1620, 1500, 1606, 1660, 1599, 1621, 1555, 1569, 1586, 1551, 1616, 1655, 1723, 1637 and 1711 are included under the topic Early Rowland History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Rowland Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Rolland, Roland, Rowland, Rowlands, Rowlandson, Rolan and many more.

Early Notables of the Rowland family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Richard Rowlands alias Verstegen ( fl. 1565-1620), an English antiquary, born in the parish of St. Catherine, near the Tower of London, was grandson of Theodore Roland Verstegen, of an ancient Dutch family which was driven from Gelderland to England about 1500; John Rowland (1606-1660), an English writer against Milton, born in Bedfordshire and educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford; Nicholas Rowland, a medical surgeon in London, who practiced from 1599 to 1621. [3] In Scotland, John Rolland, was a 16th century Scottish poet, known to have been in Dalkeith in 1555. [4] And in Wales...
Another 129 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rowland Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Rowland World Ranking

In the United States, the name Rowland is the 838th most popular surname with an estimated 34,818 people with that name. [5] However, in Australia, the name Rowland is ranked the 845th most popular surname with an estimated 4,670 people with that name. [6] And in New Zealand, the name Rowland is the 857th popular surname with an estimated 856 people with that name. [7] The United Kingdom ranks Rowland as 553rd with 11,738 people. [8]

Ireland Migration of the Rowland family to Ireland

Some of the Rowland family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Rowland migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Rowland Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Rowland, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Jo Rowland, aged 21, who arrived in Bermuda in 1635 [9]
  • Richard Rowland, aged 20, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [9]
  • Lewis Rowland, who landed in Virginia in 1652 [9]
  • Daniel Rowland, who settled in Virginia in 1653
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Rowland Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Mark Rowland, who landed in Virginia in 1701-1702 [9]
  • Walter Rowland, who landed in Virginia in 1711 [9]
  • Katherine Rowland, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1727 [9]
  • Casper Rowland, aged 20, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1741 [9]
  • Jacob Rowland, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1761 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Rowland Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Rowland, aged 28, who arrived in New York in 1812 [9]
  • John Rowland, who landed in Mississippi in 1846 [9]
  • George Rowland, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [9]
  • Casper, Charles, John, Priscilla, Richard, Thomas, and William Rowland all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1870
  • Charles Rowland, who landed in St Clair County, III in 1896 [9]

Australia Rowland migration to Australia +

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

Rowland Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Samuel Rowland, (Rowlands), British Convict who was convicted in Essex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 27th October 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • Mr. James Rowland, British Convict who was convicted in Bristol, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Commodore Hayes" in April 1823, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [11]
  • Miss Ann Rowland, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "Earl of Liverpool" in December 1830, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [12]
  • Mr. Matthias Rowland, British Convict who was convicted in Chester, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 20th July 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • Hannah Rowland, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Angelina" on April 25, 1844, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Rowland 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:

Rowland Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Andrew Rowland, aged 22, a farmer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bengal Merchant" in 1840
  • F. C. Rowland, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Mandarin" in 1841
  • Mr. Richard Rowland, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Euphemus" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 12th February 1857 [15]
  • Mr. Richard Rowland, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Spray of the Ocean" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 1st September 1859 [16]
  • Mrs. Caroline Rowland, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Spray of the Ocean" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 1st September 1859 [16]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Rowland 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. [17]
Rowland Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. John Rowland, (b. 1614), aged 21, British settler travelling aboard the ship "The Dorset" arriving in Barbados in September 1635 [18]

Contemporary Notables of the name Rowland (post 1700) +

  • Frank Sherwood Rowland (1927-2012), American Nobel laureate and a professor of chemistry at the University of California, Irvine
  • Major John Sharpe Rowland (1795-1863), American planter and politician in South Carolina and Georgia, Superintendent of the Western and Atlantic Railroad during the American Civil War
  • John A. Rowland, American early settler and rancher of the eastern San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, eponym of Rowland Heights, California
  • John Howell "Bo" Rowland (1903-1964), American football player and coach of football and basketball
  • Roy Rowland (1910-1995), American Directors Guild of America Award nominated film director; he also married the niece of MGM chief Louis B. Mayer
  • Michael Evan "Mike" Rowland (b. 1953), American former Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1980 to 1981
  • Michael Rowland (1963-2004), American jockey who died as a result of head injuries suffered during a race on February 4, 2004
  • Clarence Henry "Pants" Rowland (1879-1969), American Major League Baseball manager for the Chicago White Sox from 1915 through 1918
  • Landon H. Rowland (1937-2015), American 15th President of Kansas City Southern Railway (1990-1991)
  • Wirt C. Rowland (1887-1946), American architect
  • ... (Another 22 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Repulse
  • Mr. William Rowland (b. 1921), English Stoker 1st Class from Miles Platting, Manchester, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [19]
HMS Royal Oak
  • E.A. Rowland, British Petty Officer with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [20]
Senghenydd colliery
  • Mr. Robert John Rowland (b. 1882), Welsh coal miner from Senghenydd, Caerphilly, Wales who was working at the Senghenydd colliery when there was an explosion on the 14th October 1913; he died


Suggested Readings for the name Rowland +

  • John C. Rowland, Missouri Pioneer and his Kin by Vaden R. Mayers.
  • Sons of Frontiersmen: History & Genealogy of Rowland, Whitmire and Associated Families by Billie Louise Owens.

  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  5. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  7. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  8. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  9. ^ 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)
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  11. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retrieved 4th March 2021, retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/commodore-hayes)
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-of-liverpool
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th February 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1837
  14. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 27) Angelina voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1844 with 171 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/angelina/1844
  15. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  16. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  17. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  18. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 29th September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  19. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  20. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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