Select Roberts Surname Genealogy

Roberts is a patronymic name from the personal name Robert that was introduced to England by the Normans.  It appeared as Rodbertus, Rotbert, and Robert in the 1086 Domesday Book. 

Roberts emerged as a surname in the latter part of the 13th century.  An early record was Richard Roberdes in the 1327 Worcestershire subsidy rolls.  The Roberts name is to be found in both England and

Select Roberts Resources on The Internet

Wales.  The name became particularly common in Denbighshire in NW Wales (now Clwyd) - where the pronunciation tended to be "Robaits" - and then in Lancashire where there was a strong connection through trade and the movement of people.  John Wyn Roberts, the son of Hywel ap Dafydd and Margaret Verch ap Robert, was born in Denbighshire in 1516.

Gabriel Roberts, the son of Lewis ap Rhisiart, was a Welsh trader in Beaumaris in the late 1500ís who bought produce in Chester for the local populace in Anglesey.  His son Lewis and grandson Gabriel expanded their trading activities to the Orient with the Levant Company and the East India Company. 

John Roberts moved from Llanwrst in Denbighshire to Liverpool in the 1850's to build up a timber business there.  He returned to Wales to be an MP.  His descendants became Baron Clwyd.  A Methodist family from Anglesey produced another John Roberts who prospered in Manchester as a merchant and was its Mayor in 1896.

England.  There were Roberts lines elsewhere in England.  

SE England.  In the 12th century William Rookherst alias Roberts appeared at Goodhurst in Kent and he is thought to have been the forebear of the Roberts of Glassenbury Manor in Cranbook.  The Roberts line there began in the 1430ís and their manor house was built in 1473.  Sir Walter Roberts rebuilt this manor as a Georgian mansion in 1730 and it remained with the Roberts family until recently. 

SW England.  John Roberts, a Bristol draper, married well and purchased Sayes Manor at Westerleigh in Gloucestershire in 1578. But later Roberts of this family ran into debt and were forced to sell.  Johnís brother Henry was a sea captain with a keenness for dueling.  His descendants were to be found at Kingswood in Gloucestershire. John Roberts, the 17th century Quaker at Siddington in Gloucestershire, may have been related to this family. 

One Roberts line in Cornwall began with Robert Roberts aka Jenken at Gwithian in the mid-1500ís.  A Roberts (sometimes Robertes) family of Truro became wealthy money-lenders in the early 1600ís and built their family estate in 1630 at Lanihydrock; while a Roberts family from Penzance, first recorded with Richard Roberts in 1691, were emigrants to Australia in the mid-1800ís.

Ireland.  There was one well-known Roberts family in Waterford.  Thomas Roberts was "a Welshman of property" who had settled there in 1680.  His grandson John Roberts was an architect responsible for many of Waterford's structures today, including its Cathedral.  Field Marshal Earl Roberts came from this family.

Francis Roberts was granted Britfieldstown in county Cork in 1667.  The estate remained in Roberts hands until debts forced its sale in 1851.  These Roberts claimed a descent from the Roberts of Glassenbury in Kent and, although they secured a baronetage out of it, the case may not be proven. 

A Roberts family was first recorded in Stradibally in what is now Laois county in 1740.   Many of these Roberts emigrated to Canada in the 1840ís.

  Thomas Roberts from Woolaston in Worcestershire was an early arrival in New England.   He moved to Dover, New Hampshire where he was made Governor in 1640.  William Roberts from Wiltshire settled in Hartford, Connecticut sometime in the 1680ís.

In 1683 the Welshman John Roberts acquired land from William Penn as part of the Welsh tract in Merion township, Pennsylvania.  He named his stone house there Pencoyd after his family home back in Wales.  The property stayed with his descendants until 1964.

Margaret Roberts left her home in Montgomeryshire to join her brother George in Ohio in 1801.  On the voyage across her husband died.  But when she arrived in Ohio she met an old sweetheart Edward Bebb and they married a year later.  Their eldest son William became Governor of Ohio in 1846. 

Robert was a Huguenot name and Protestant Huguenots by the name of Robert were in South Carolina as early as 1700 in an area known as the English Santee.  Their name soon became anglicized to Roberts.  Later migration saw these Roberts in Alabama and the Wiregrass region of Georgia.

Jewish.  Roberts in America may be Jewish.  Ralph Roberts, the co-founder of Comcast Corporation, grew up in a Jewish family in New Rochelle; while Doris Roberts, one of the TV stars of Everyone Loves Raymond, is also Jewish.

Australia.  Cornish Roberts miners came to Australia after the mining depression in Cornwall: 
  • Thomas Roberts came from Penzance with his family to South Australia in 1839.  He went to work at the Burra Burra copper mine.  
  • while Abraham Roberts made it with his family to Bendigo in the Victorian goldfields in 1853.  He set up an iron foundry business there which continued with his son Abraham until 1918.
Select Roberts Miscellany.

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

Select Roberts Names

Bartholomew Roberts, known as Black Bart, was the Welsh pirate who raided shipping in the Americas in the early 1700's.
Frederick Roberts, later Earl Roberts, was one of the most successful British Army generals during the Victorian era.  He was of Anglo-Irish stock.
Elizabeth Anne Roberts was one of the first female missionaries (in the 1880's) of the Presbyterian Church in Wales.
Andrew Roberts is a British historian and conservative commentator.
John G. Roberts is the 17th and current Chief Justice of the United States.
Julia Roberts is a well-known American actress.

Select Roberts Today

  • 220,000 in the UK (most numerous in Yorkshire)
  • 142,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 71,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)
Roberts is the #10 ranked surname in the UK.

Select Surname List

Adams Ellis Johnson O'Connor
Allen Evans Jones O'Sullivan Shaw
Anderson Fisher
Kelly Parker Simpson
Bailey Foster Kennedy Perry Smith
Baker Fox King Peterson Stevens
Barnes Fraser 
Lee Phillips Stewart
Bell Graham Lewis Powell Taylor
Bennett Gray Marshall Price Thomas
Brown Green Martin Reed
Griffiths Mason      
Reynolds Turner
Campbell Hall McDonald Richards
Carter Hamilton Miller  Richardson Walsh
Chapman Harris Mitchell Roberts Ward
Clark Harrison
Moore Robertson Watson
Collins Henderson Morgan Robinson White
Cook Hill Morris Rogers Williams
Cooper Howard Murphy Ross Wilson
Cox Hughes Murray Russell Wood
Davis Jackson Nelson Ryan Wright
Edwards James O'Brien 

For other surnames check the surnames2 page where there are to be found the history and genealogy for more than 800 surnames.

Return to Main Page