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Roberts Family History
Recorded in many spellings forms including Robert and Robart which is from the same root as Rupert, to Luparti of Italy, Rubke and Ruppertz of Germany, Rops and Rubbens of Flanders, Roberts and Robertson of England and Scotland, this is a surname of pre 7th century Germanic origins. It derives from the male given name "Hrodbeorht", a compound consisting of the elements "hrod", meaning renown, and "beorht", bright or famous. This type of (originally) baptismal name, was very popular throughout Europe for many centuries, and has remained so today. Like the name Ro(d)ger with which it shares a similar ancestry, it was 'adopted' by the Norsemen as they swept through Northern Europe on their march of conquest which took them to Normandy (the home of the North men), in the 10th century...
Roberts (Variants: Robers, Robberds, Robarts, Robberts, Robards, Roberds) An English patronymic from the personal name Robert, this surname widespread and also frequently found in Wales and West Central England. Due to the lack of definite spelling rules in Old and Middle English, Norman surnames have a multitude of spelling variations. It was not uncommon to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Robert, Roberts, Robart, Robarts, Robberds and many other variants. It is presumed that like-sounding Jewish surnames are an Americanised form.
Derived from Norman-French, the surname became common during the time of Edward the Confessor. Only a short twenty years after the Norman Conquest, the surname Roberts was first found in Kent in 1086, where a Willelmus filius Roberti was listed in the Domesday Book. Following the Battle of Hastings in 1066, East Sussex that merges with the county of Kent, is also referred to as 1066 Country.
Also from the Domesday Book, a Sheriff of Worcestershire, Robert the Bursar, who held a castle at Tamworth, Staffordshire and had holdings in Gloucester, Leicester, Lincoln and Warwick. Robert (son of Fafiton) also recorded and had holdings in Bedford, Cambridge, Huntingdon, and Middlesex.
The family of ‘Roberts of Glassenbury’, extinct baronets from the county of Kent, according to a genealogy in Harl. MSS., they are descended from a Scotchman, William Rookherst who settled in Kent in the third year of Henry I. He purchased lands at Goudhurst, which he called after his own name, afterwards changing to Roobertes, finally becoming Roberts. Although the term herst is scarcely known in Scotland, the term has many appearances in Kent where the surname was first found.
Cornish settler, Mr. William John Roberts (b. 1756), convicted in Bodmin, Cornwall, UK on 14th August 1786 at the age of 31. He was sentenced for stealing yarn valued at 9 shillings and was transported aboard the ship "Scarborough" on 13th May 1787 to New South Wales, Australia.
In 1891 Census, the frequency in the England and Wales was 112,694 with fewer occurrences in Scotland at 1,377. In 1881, it was recorded in the county of Kent, where Roberts was first discovered, that there were 1,963 occurrences. The most often reported job in the UK was Farmer, with 8% reported with this occupation. Labourer and Coal Miner were also the top occupations for the Roberts, with Agricultural Labourer being less common.
The occupational term ‘Bobbies’ was derived from a personal name – Sir Robert Peel, who founded the metropolitan London’s police force in 1829. Constables were first called the ‘Peelers’ until Sir Robert became Chief Secretary in Ireland, which then adopted the still often used term 'Bobbies'.
1881, 1891 Census
1881 Census in Kent
Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003
Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890
The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016
1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain
1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain
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