Surname History: -
The Ancient History of the Distinguished Surname Roebuck
The Saxon Chronicle is a manuscript which was painstakingly
researched by monks of the 10th Century and now dwells in the
British Museum. Emerging through the Chronicles of history is
one of the oldest family names, ROEBUCK, and the distinguished
history of this surname is interwoven into the tapestry of the
history of England.
Historical analysts have used many sources in the preparation
of the ROEBUCK history such as the Domesday Book, the Ragman
Rolls (1291 - 1296), the Curia Regis Rolls, The Pipe Rolls, the
Hearth Rolls, parish registers, baptismals, tax records and other
ancient documents and found the first record of the name ROEBUCK,
in Kent where they were seated from early times and their first
records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early
Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.
The Surname ROEBUCK, was found in the archives, the name was
sometimes revealed as ROEBUCK, ROBUCK, and these changes in spelling
occurred even between father and son. It was not uncommon, for
example, for a person to be born with one spelling variation,
married with another, and for yet another to appear on his gravestone.
Scribes spelt the name the way it sounded as it was told to them.
From century to century spellings changed.
The family name ROEBUCK was found to be descended from the
Saxon race. The Saxons were a fair skinned people led by the
brothers General/Commanders Hengist and Horsa, who settled in
England from about the year 400 A.D. They settled firstly on
the south east coast, coming from the Rhine Valley. They spread
north and westward from Kent and during the next four hundred
years forced the Ancient Britons back into Wales and Cornwall
to the west, Cumbria and Scotland to the north. The Angles held
the eastern coastline, the south folk in Suffolk, the north folk
in Norfolk. Under Anglo/Saxon five century rule the nation divided
into five separate kingdoms, a high king being elected as supreme
ruler. Alfred the Great emerged in the 9th century as the Saxon
leader to dispel the Danish invasion.
England by 1066, was ably led by Harold, King of the Saxons
and was enjoying reasonable peace and prosperity. The Norman
invasion from France under Duke William of Normandy, and their
victory of the Battle of Hastings, found Saxon land owners to
be forfeited their land. William, with an army of 40,000 drove
north, wasting the northern counties. Both rebellious Norman
nobles and Saxons fled over the border into Scotland. Those Saxons
who remained were restive under Norman rule, and many moved northward
to the midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire where Norman influence
The family name ROEBUCK emerged as a notable English family
name in the county of Kent where they were recorded as a family
of great antiquity seated as Lords of the manor of Ingress and
estates in that shire. By the 13th century they had branched
to Somerset. Perhaps one of the most impressive branches of the
family was of Heath in Yorkshire who intermarried with many distinguished
Yorkshire families, including the Disneys and the Maudes. Notable
amongst the family at this time was ROEBUCK of Kent.
The next two or three centuries found the Surname ROEBUCK
flourishing and contributing greatly to the culture of the nation.
During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries England was ravaged
by religious conflict. Protestantism, the newly found political
fervour of Cromwellianism, and the remnants of the Roman Church
rejected all but the most ardent followers. As each group gained
power during these turbulent times many were burnt at the stake
but many more were banished from the land, losing their titles,
estates and status. Many families were freely "encouraged"
to migrate to Ireland, or to the "colonies". Some were
rewarded with grants of lands, others were indentured as servants
for as long as ten years.
In Ireland they became known as the "Adventurers for
land in Ireland". They were government sponsored Protestant
settlers who "undertook" to keep their faith, being
granted lands previously owned by the Catholic Irish for only
nominal payment. They were also known as the "Undertakers".
There is no evidence that the family name migrated to Ireland,
but this does not preclude the possibility of their scattered
migration to that country.
These unsettling times were disturbing and the New World beckoned
the adventurous. They migrated, some voluntarily from Ireland,
some by Army service, but mostly directly from England, their
home territories. Some also moved to the European continent.
Members of the family name ROEBUCK sailed aboard the armada of
small sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which
plied the stormy Atlantic. These overcrowded ships were pestilence
ridden, sometimes 30% to 40% of the passenger list never reaching
their destination, their numbers decimated by sickness and the
elements. Many were buried at sea.
Included amongst the first migrants who settled in North America
which could be considered a kinsman of the surname ROEBUCK or
a variable spelling of that family name was ROBERT ROBUCK/ROEBUCK,
the emigrant, who came from the area of Yorkshire, England, West
Riding of Yorkshire, to Maryland in 1674. He, along with five
others, was brought to Maryland by Mathias DiCosta(?)of St. Mary's,
Maryland.(See Passenger and Immigration Record). Lord Calvert
was giving property to anyone who brought settlers to the New
ROBERT ROBUCK/ROEBUCK, the emigrant, is the first documented
ROBUCK/ROEBUCK in the New World. How long he stayed in Maryland
is unknown as he eventually settled in Northumberland County,
Virginia, dying there in 1709. ROBERT ROBUCK/ROEBUCK is first
mentioned in Northumberland County records in 1699, for on June
23rd of that year he brought a suit against William Jones, Executor
of Samuel Jones Estate.(Ref.1). This action could refer to either
the Robert Roebuck under consideration, or to a younger Robert
Roebuck, his assumed son. In the court records his name is usually
spelled "ROEBUCK", but not always. By the third generation,
the name is often spelled "ROBUCK". Distinct differences
in orthography occurred within the family. Descendants of Benjamin,
progenitor of the Kentucky and Adams County, Ohio, line almost
always use "ROBUCK". Descendants of James, who with
his six sons migrated to Ohio, consistantly spell the name "ROEBUCK".
Descendants of Robert and George use both spellings.
Included amongst other migrants who settld in North America
which could be considered a kinsman of the Surname ROEBUCK, or
a variable spelling of that family name was Benjamin Disney ROEBUCK
who arrived in Philadelphia in 1808; John, John Wood, Nathan,
William, William ROEBUCK all arrived in Philadelphia between
1805 and 1876.
The east coast ports were crowded. From the port of entry
many settlers trekked their way west, joining the wagon trains
to the prairies or to the West Coast. During the American War
of Independence, many loyalists made their way north to Canada
about 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.
They were granted equivalent lands along the banks of the St.
Lawrence River and in the Niagara Peninsula. Contemporary notables
of the Surname ROEBUCK, include many distinguished contributors:
ROEBUCK of Sears-Roebuck; Tommy Roebuck, Dentist.
My purpose in this research is not to trace the ROBERT ROBUCK/ROEBUCK,
the emigrant, family descendants in the United States but to
trace his ancestors in England.
Several books have been written on the descendants of ROBERT
ROBUCK/ROEBUCK, the emigrant, and anyone wishing to trace their
ROBUCK/ROEBUCK line in the States should consult these books
which can be located at Family History Libraries.