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Surnames R to U


JAMES RORKE (b.1760 d. 18 Oct 1832) married Julia in Ireland. Both were from Ballinasloe, County Galway, Ireland. They had 5 sons. James Rorke (b.1760 d.1832) was a tenant farmer to the Earl of Clancarty.

The parish of Clontuskert is situated on the eastern edge of County Galway in the West of Ireland. Clontuskert is divided into its sixty-four townlands. Glenloughaun is a townland of almost 300 acres. The Tithe Applotment Books show that there were fifteen tithe payers in 1823. The people named were James Brown, Thomas, William and Frank Elliot, James Reddy, James Todd, James Rorke and another James Rorke who was a policeman along with seven Stenson families.

By 1856, Lord Clancarty was the owner of the townland and he let the lands and thirteen houses to his tenants. According to Griffith’s Valuation, the tenants were Robert Sinclair, William Sale, John Rorke (the eldest son of James), Thomas McNamara, James Johnston, Gilbert Johnston, James Walshe Jnr., Elizabeth Johnston, Ann Sale, Mary Brown, Andrew Stenson, James Walshe, and James Naughton.

The changes in the occupiers of lands after that were as follows: William Sale’s house and land were taken over by George Cooke in 1873 and John Rorke’s by Edward Hall.

James Rorke was buried in the grounds of St Matthew's Church, Glenloughan, near Ballinasloe, Galway. The grave is still there today and the inscription is readable.

James and Julia’s five sons were: John, Thomas, Michael, James and Benjamin.

b1. JOHN RORKE (b.1793 d.1868) John stayed in Ireland and took over the farm that his parents rented from the Earl of Clancarty. He had 2 sons: James RORKE (b.1821) and William RORKE (b.1825).

b2. THOMAS RORKE (b.1795 d.29 Jan 1837) Thomas came to South Africa with his brothers as single men in 1823. He married Elizabeth in South Africa. They had 2 children: Mary Anne RORKE and Catherine RORKE.

b3. MICHAEL RORKE (b.9 Mar 1799 d. 2 April 1872) Michael came to South Africa with his brothers as single men in 1823. Quartermaster Michael Rorke was a member of the Cape Mounted Riflemen during South Africa's Frontier Wars of 1834 - 1853. He is listed as having been awarded a South African 1853 Medal. He married in South Africa - Sarah FORRESTER (b.05 Jan 1809), daughter of Richard and Mary Forrester. They had 12 children:
Eliza RORKE (b.1825), Catherine RORKE (b.1 May 1833), Richard RORKE (b.3 Nov 1834), John RORKE (b.21 Dec 1836), Sarah Anne RORKE (b.11 Jul 1838), William Benjamin RORKE (b.1841), Matthew Joseph RORKE (b.11 Oct 1843), Catherine Mary RORKE (b.25 Feb 1852), Alfred Glynn RORKE (b.3 Feb 1855), Thomas James RORKE, Lydia Margaret RORKE, Michael Henry RORKE (b.1845)

b4. JAMES RORKE (b.1801 d.23 Jun 1859) James came to South Africa with his brothers as single men in 1823. He married ‘Unknown’ in South Africa and they had 1 child: James Alfred RORKE (b.1827). They are the Rorke’s of Rorke’s Drift in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

b5. BENJAMIN RORKE (b.1803) Benjamin got married in Ireland to Catherine GLYNN (b1801 d. 03 Oct 1874). He, his wife and first son came to South Africa in 1830, seven years after his 3 brothers came to South Africa. He and Catherine had 3 boys. One was born in Ireland and 2 were born in South Africa. Michael RORKE (b.12 Aug 1825), Thomas RORKE (b.1831), Charles Benjamin RORKE (b.22 Jun 1836)

More info available from:

"A Rorke Family Research Project" founded by an American school teacher April Blakeley.
Tessa King.

Rorke 1Rorke 2
Rorke 3Rorke 4

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