Ruark History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Irish name Ruark has a long Gaelic heritage to its credit. The original Gaelic form of the name Ruark is O Ruairc, which means descendant of Ruairc and; Ruairc is a personal name imported by Norse settlers.

Early Origins of the Ruark family

The surname Ruark was first found in counties Cavan and Leitrim (Irish: Liatroim) anciently the western half of the kingdom of Breifne, located in Northeastern Ireland, in Leinster province.

Of note was Tiernan O'Rourke (d. 1172), King of Breifne, called in Irish Tighearnan Ua Ruairc; he was head of the clans known as the Ui Briuin, or as the race of Aedh finn, and ruled Breifne. He first appears in the chronicles in 1124, and at that date had a son, Gillabroide, who was slain in battle with the Connaughtmen. O'Rourke had a considerable body of cavalry, and was defeated by a similar force under Conchobhar MacLochlainn at Ardee, co. Louth, in 1128. In 1130 he defeated and slew Diarmait O'Maelsechlainn, king of Meath, at Slieve Guaire, co. Cavan, and in the following year he ravaged Cuailgne and Omeath, then districts of Ulster, now in the co. Louth. [1]

Nineteen other chiefs or tanists named Tiernan O'Rourke occur in the Irish chronicles, of whom the most important was chief of the race of Aedh finn and of Breifne, married Aine, daughter of Tadhg MacDonnchaidh, and died in 1467. [1]

Early History of the Ruark family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ruark research. Another 128 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1046, 1172, 1771, 1591, 1532, 1536, 1562, 1562, 1564, 1566, 1576, 1578 and 1578 are included under the topic Early Ruark History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ruark Spelling Variations

The recording of names in Ireland during the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. Since the general population did not know how to read or write, they could only specify how their names should be recorded orally. Research into the name Ruark revealed spelling variations, including O'Rourke, O'Rorke, O'Rork, O'Rourk, O'Roark, Rourke, Rorke, Rourk, Roarke and many more.

Early Notables of the Ruark family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family name at this time was Sir Brian-Na-Murtha O'Rourke (d. 1591), Irish chieftain, a younger son of Brian Ballagh O'Rourke. "His grandfather, Owen O'Rourke, who was ‘chief of his name,’ was slain at Dromore in 1532, his son Brian Ballagh, ‘the speckled or freckled,’ being declared the O'Rourke in 1536. Brian Ballagh spent a life of constant fighting against his kinsmen and the English, and died in consequence of a fall in 1562; he ‘had the best collection of poems, and of all his tribe had bestowed the greatest number of presents for poetical eulogies;’ he was ‘senior...
Another 258 words (18 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ruark Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Ruark family

Death and immigration greatly reduced Ireland's population in the 19th century. For the native Irish people poverty, hunger, and racial prejudice was common. Therefore, thousands left their homeland to seek opportunity in North America. Those who survived the journey and the quarantine camps to which they arrived, were instrumental towards building the strong developing nations of the United States and the future Canada. By far, the largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These were employed as construction or factory workers. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Ruark: Henry Roark who settled in Pennsylvania in 1773; Owen Roarke settled in Philadelphia in 1851; Anne Rourk settled with her husband in Maine in 1822; Bernard, Charles, Daniel, Felix, John, Michael, Patrick, Richard and William Rourke all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.


Contemporary Notables of the name Ruark (post 1700) +

  • Robert Ruark (1915-1965), American author, syndicated columnist, and big game hunter
  • Rebecca T. Ruark, American wife of William T. Ruark who commissioned the shipjack Rebecca T. Ruark to be built in 1886, designated a National Historic Landmark in 2003
  • Gibbons Ruark (b. 1941), American contemporary poet
  • Elmer F. Ruark, American politician, Mayor of Salisbury, Maryland (1974-1982), father of Davis Ruark
  • Davis R. Ruark (b. 1955), American politician, Senior Assistant District Attorney/Senior Trial Attorney in the Third Judicial District Attorney's Office in Las Cruces, Dona Anna County, New Mexico
  • Arthur Edward Ruark (1899-1979), American physicist who actively played a role in the development of quantum mechanics who identified the Ruark number


The Ruark 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: Serviendo guberno
Motto Translation: I govern by serving.


  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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