Select Rose Surname Genealogy

The surname Rose comes from the name of the flower (rosa in Latin) and has English, Scottish, French and German roots.  It could be a topographic name for someone who lived in a place where wild roses grew; or it could be a nickname for someone with a “rosy” complexion.  The Yiddish royz of similar meaning gives the Jewish Rose; or Rose could be an abbreviation of a Jewish ornamental name such as Rosenberg.

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Select Rose Ancestry

The Rose surname exists today in Germany and France, as well as in the UK.  The German numbers amount to some 20,000 and are mainly to be found in the north of the country.   There were a significant number of Rose immigrants to America in the 19th century.  French numbers are smaller.
Scotland.  Rose is a Scottish clan to be found in Nairn in the northeast of Scotland.  Clan origins are uncertain.  The first sighting of the Rose name was about 1220 when Hugh Rose of Geddes was witness to the foundation of Beauly Priory.  His son Hugh acquired the lands of Kilravock through marriage.  Castle Kilravock, built around 1460 on the banks of the river Nairn, has been the clan home since that time.

There have been twenty five chieftains of the Rose clan, of which nineteen had the name Hugh.  Their history was less warlike than that of other Highland clans and the Roses, although entertaining Bonnie Prince Charlie at their castle, supported the British Government during the Jacobite uprisings.  Hugh Rose's 1848 book Family of Rose of Kilravock recounted their history over the centuries.

One junior Rose line led to George Rose, an 18th century English politician, and his grandson Hugh Rose, a British Field Marshal in Victorian times.

.  Roses in England are more numerous than in Scotland, but less conspicuous as a surname.  The Rose name was mainly to be found in London and the southeast of England and in East Anglia.  

Rose appeared in Buckinghamshire village registers such as Waddesden, Haddenham, and Eythorpe in the early 16th century.  Robert Rose, a yeoman, acquired Grenville's manor in Haddenham in 1569 and it stayed in the family for the next three hundred years.  Another Rose family was prominent in Wycombe in the 18th century, contributing a number of mayors to the town.  Sir Philip Rose did well as a lawyer in London and acquired the Rayners estate in Buckinghamshire in the 1850's.
  James Rose was a barge owner in Southwark who went bankrupt in 1788.  But his son George prospered as a barrister and law reporter in London.

Rose, possibly because of French influence, is a Channel Islands name.  John Rose, originally from Jersey, was mayor of Lyme Regis in Dorset in 1611 and a descendant, Thomas, was sheriff of the county a century or so later.  Roses emigrated from Guernsey to Quebec in the 1840's.

A Rose in England today may be the descendant of Jewish immigrants.  Their numbers include Sir Stuart Rose, the Chairman of the British retailer Marks & Spencer, and two brothers Nikolas and Steven, one a prominent sociologist and the other a neuroscientist.

Ireland.  One Rose family from Dorset, said to be Huguenot in origin, emigrated to Ireland in the 17th century and settled at Ahabeg in Limerick.  Thomas Rose was mayor of Limerick in 1695 and the family remained important in Limerick life in the 18th and 19th centuries.

  Robert Rose of Wethersfield, Connecticut was an early arrival from England on the Francis in 1634.  A later line of these Roses settled in the 1770's in Rensselaer county in upstate New York.  This is probably the largest Rose family, in terms of the number of descendants, in America.

The Rev. Robert Rose, an Anglican clergyman, came to Virginia from Morayshire in Scotland around 1725, having obtained land grants from King George II on the Piney and Tye rivers in Essex county.  He was, according to his journals which have been preserved and other accounts, an energetic and very well-respected clergyman and planter.  Christina Rose's 1985 book Ancestors and Descendants of the Rev. Robert Rose covered his family's story. 

James Rose came to Chester county, Pennsylvania from Scotland in the years prior to the Revolutionary War.  His son Dr. Robert Rose, who settled in Silver Lake township, has been credited with the early development of Susquehanna county in Pennsylvania.  Another line via Andrew Rose of Mercer county led to Mary Rose
who married David McKinley.  Their grandson was President William McKinley.

Henderson, North Carolina can boast two famous Rose names.  The first is Paul Howard Rose, the son of Thomas Bragg Rose of Seaboard, who started the Rose's Store chain in Henderson in 1915.   Charles Peete Rose was a tobacco farmer and general store owner in Henderson in the 1940's.  His son Charlie Rose became a well-known TV talkshow host.

There were also Roses in America that had come from Holland, Germany, and France:
  • the Dutch Roses were originally Roosa and had come to New Amsterdam on the Bontekoe in 1660.  They settled in Ulster county, New York, many of them changing their name to Rose in the 1800's.
  • German Rose families arrived in the 18th century, primarily into Pennsylvania.  Friederich Roose, later Rose, came on the Osgood in 1750 and settled in York county, Pennsylvania.  William Roos, later Rose, was in Albany county, New York by 1760.  Descendants of William and his wife Elizabeth spread to other New York counties and westward to Ohio.
  • and Moses Rose was a Frenchman who had arrived in Louisiana in 1826 and got involved in the war with Mexico.  This led him to Texas and the Alamo in 1836.
If you are in New York and your name is Rose, the probability is that you are Jewish.   Rose was a convenient abbreviation of one of the many Rose ornamental names such as Rosenberg that were born by Jewish immigrants.  Notable among these Roses have been: 
  • Baldy Jack Rose, a shady underworld figure in the 1910's who ran the Rosebud gambling den in New York and after whom, it is believed, the Jack Rose cocktail was named. 
  • Billy Rose, born in 1910 in New York, who was a prominent songwriter, showman, and impresario of the 1930's and 1940's; and David Rose, who arrived in New York in the 1930's and made his name also as a songwriter and composer.
  • Alex Rose, who was active in New York labor unions and helped found the Liberal Party in the city in 1936.  He led the party until his death in 1976.  His son Herbert served as legal counsel to many of the Jewish organizations in the city.
  • and, most formidably, the Rose real estate empire founded by Samuel and David Rose in the Bronx in the 1920's.  Today their company Rose Associates manages more than 31,000 apartments in New York.  The Rose family is a major benefactor to the city.  Marshall Rose, in real estate but apparently unrelated, made the headlines in 2000 when he married the actress Candice Bergen.
Ernestine Rose, born in Poland, had in fact arrived in New York with her British-born husband as early as 1836.  She was, with Susan B. Anthony, one of the early proponents of women's rights.

.  There were early Rose settlers from France in Quebec.  Nicholas Rose arrived there from Paris in 1666.  Another Nicholas Rose, from Guernsey in the Channel Islands, came to Gaspe, Quebec in the 1840's.  John and Isabella Rose reached Nova Scotia from Invergordon in the Scottish Highlands in 1818.  They settled in New Glasgow.  John Rose came from the Highlands to Quebec with his parents in 1836.  He prospered as a lawyer in Montreal and entered politics.  He figured prominently at the time of Canadian federation in 1867.

Australia.  Thomas Rose and his family from Dorset were among the group that had sailed from England in the Bellona and disembarked at Port Jackson in January 1793.  These were the first families of free settlers to arrive in the colony.  Hence the area where their land grants were made became known as Liberty Plains.

"Quite homely, unassuming and industrious, Thomas Rose belonged to that humble band of men who, in a rough and licentious age, helped to lay the foundations of an ordered social life in a new country."

Another Thomas Rose - this time from Shropshire and sentenced to transportation for house-breaking - arrived in Sydney on the Barwell in 1798.  He prospered there, setting up a bakery in 1804 and later the Rose and Crown Inn.  At Mount Gilead where he lived from 1827 until 1837, he won fame for his building of a giant windmill to ground flour.

"Possessed of great drive, energy and an excellent business sense, Thomas Rose was one of those enterprising men who arrived in the colony as convicts and went on to win wealth and respectability in the tough economic society of their new land.  He was remembered as a colorful figure in the early commercial and sporting life of Sydney."

Colorful probably meant two marriages and relations with two other women that produced children.

Select Rose Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Rose Names

Hugh Rose acquired the barony of Kilravock through marriage around 1280 and is the forebear of the Scots Rose clan.
Ernestine Rose
was, with Susan B. Anthony, one of the early proponents of women's rights in America.
Billy Rose, born Billy Rosenberg, was an American showman and impresario of the 1930's and 1940's.
Pete Rose was an outstanding baseball switch-hitter whose reputation was tarnished by his addiction to gambling.
Sir Stuart Rose is the Chairman of the British retailer Marks & Spencer.

Select Roses Today
  • 48,000 in the UK (most numerous in London)
  • 57,000 in America (most numerous in California) 
  • 31,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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