Recorded in several spellings including Rook, Rookes and Ruck (English), De Roeck and Roeck (Dutch & Flemish), this interesting surname is medieval. In a sense it is a nickname either for somebody who lived at a house or inn which had the sign of a rook, or it was given to a person who had some fancied resemblance to the bird. This was perhaps dark hair and complexion or a rapacious view of life! It derives from the Norse pre 7th century word "hroc", a rook, and it is possible that it was also an ethnic name for the Vikings, evebn though they were usually fair skinned.In the early English records which were the first in Europe we see the beginings of the development of the name. These recoprdings include William le Roke in the Assize Rolls of Somerset in 1143, William Ruk in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Sussex in 1296, and that of Richard le Rouke in the Subsidy Rolls of Somerset in 1327. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Roc. This was dated 1185, in the Knight Templars Rolls of Oxford", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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