What is the origin of the last name Roe?

The last name Roe derives from various sources and has multiple origins. One possibility is that it originated as a topographical name for someone who lived near a small hill or mound, derived from the Old English word "hraefn" meaning "small hill" or "mound." Another explanation suggests that it may have emerged as a metonymic occupational name for a hunter or falconer, stemming from the Old English word "hrafn," meaning "raven." Additionally, Roe could have been a nickname for someone resembling a deer, as "roe" refers to a small species of deer. Alternatively, it may have developed as a patronymic surname meaning "son of Roe," derived from the given name "Rowe," a variant of the name "Ralph." With various possible origins, the surname Roe is an intriguing name with captivating etymology for those exploring their genealogy.

Countries of origin for the last name Roe

The last name ROE is derived from multiple origins and has various meanings associated with it.

One common origin of the surname ROE is English. It is believed to be a topographic or habitational name for someone who lived near a “roe deer enclosure” or a place where roe deer were kept, derived from the Middle English word “roe” meaning roe deer. This suggests that the original bearers of the name may have either worked in a roe deer enclosure or resided in close proximity to one.

An alternative origin for the surname ROE is Irish. In this case, the name is a variant of the Gaelic surname “Ó Ruadh,” which translates to “descendant of Ruadh” or “red.” Ruadh is a personal name derived from the Gaelic word “rua,” meaning red. This suggests that the early bearers of the name may have had red hair or a red complexion.

Another possibility is that the surname ROE could have Jewish origins. Jewish people who migrated to Europe in medieval times often adopted local surnames, which could have been based on their occupation, location, or personal characteristics. Therefore, it is possible that the name ROE could be a Jewish surname with a different meaning or origin.

It is important to note that the meaning and origins of surnames can vary depending on the specific family line. Different families with the surname ROE may have different stories and origins associated with their name. Therefore, further research and exploration could provide more insights into the specific meaning and history of the surname ROE for individuals and families.

Overall, the last name ROE has origins in different cultures, including English, Irish, and possibly Jewish. Its meanings range from being associated with a roe deer enclosure in English to being connected to the Gaelic word for red in Irish. The diverse origins and meanings of the surname ROE provide a rich and intriguing exploration into the history of individuals and families who bear this name.

Interesting facts about the last name Roe

  • The surname Roe has origins in both England and Scotland.
  • It is derived from the Old English word “ra,” meaning “roe deer,” which was a commonly hunted animal in medieval England.
  • The name was likely given as a nickname to someone who was a skilled deer hunter or had characteristics associated with the roe deer, such as gracefulness or agility.
  • There are multiple variations of the surname, including Rowe, Roa, Roeber, and Rohr.
  • The Roe surname was first recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086, which was a survey of England and Wales ordered by William the Conqueror.
  • Notable individuals with the surname Roe include Thomas J. Roe, one of the founding members of the Maryland Court of Appeals, and Edward Payson Roe, an American author known for his popular novels in the late 19th century.
  • The surname Roe is relatively rare, ranking 2,423rd in the United States and 9,660th in England according to surname distribution data.
  • In Ireland, the surname Roe is often of unrelated Gaelic origins, derived from the Irish surname Ó Ruadhaigh or Ó Ruadháin.
  • The Roe River, located in Montana, USA, holds the Guinness World Record for being the shortest river in the world, measuring only 201 feet in length. It was named after E.G. Roe, a local rancher who discovered its source.
  • Roe is also a term used in the legal field to refer to the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which established the constitutional right to access safe and legal abortion in the United States.

Name Rank


There are around 25286 people with the last name Roe in the US

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