It’s meaning and probable derivation

The exact origin of these names is uncertain, however, it most likely is the German language and on that assumption is based the following essay of their possible meaning and derivation.

What is certain about the name spelled Rorer/Rorrer/Rehrer/Rohrer is that these spellings are fairly uncommon. Although, according to the references cited below it could be inferred as being a fairly ancient name. There is known an Albrecht Rorer, dating to 1330, and an Ulrick Rorer, dating to 1349 in the Tyrol. The usual spelling is with an “h” as Roher, but it can also be spelled as Rohrer, Rohr, Ruhrer, Roehrer, Rorh, Roar and Ruhr. The Mormon Genealogical Society states that these names are all related and are all of the same family. Though I do not think this should be taken that everyone who bears one of these variations are related.

The meaning seems to be place specific, but not specific to a particular place. That is the name refers to persons who live near a place where reeds or rushes grow, which could be anywhere. I have what purports to be a “Rorer” coat of arms: two feathery reeds above three mountains, all colored green on a plain background. However, I have no idea who it was granted to, when, where, at what time or by what authority.[1] Though by the information I have gathered it could be reasonably accurate.

Index entries for the U.S. Census give the following incidences of these names:

1790:  Roher, Rorer, Rorrer:  Average size of family, 7; Heads of Families, 25; All other members, 149; Pennsylvania, 13; Maryland, 12.

(Other years to be inserted here later as time permits further research)

English Language References:

German American Names, by George Fenwick Jones, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.

This reference lists the following names and their meanings. The number(s) after the names refer to the (numbered) paragraph(s), in the book, containing an explanation of the name’s derivation. Those paragraphs referred to are reproduced below (in numerical order not in order of citation).

Roehr (rushes) 81

Roes (swampy ground) 80, 122

Roeser, Roess, Roesser, Roessner (swamp dweller) 80

Roh, Rohe (raw)

Rohr, Rohrs (reed, pipe) 81, 122

Rohrbach, Rorbach, Rohrback, Rohrbacher, Rohrbeck, Rohrbaugh, Ropach (reed brook) 81, 77, 122

Rohrer (dweller by rushes) 81

Rohrig, Roorig (swampy, covered with reeds) 81

Rohrmann (marsh dweller) 81, 80

Rohrmoser (dweller on the reedy marsh) 81, 80

Rosbach, Rosbeck, Rosenbach (swamp brook) 80, 77, 122

Rosenau, Rosenauer (swamp meadow) 80, 84, 122

Rosenberg, Rosenberger (swamp mountain) 80, 68, 148, 122

Rosendorf (swamp village) 80, 123

68.  Far more numerous, of course, are names derived from Berg, the commonest name for mountain. In addition to many families named Berg and Berger, there were far more named for specific mountains, such as Oberberg, Unterberg, Gruenberg, Silberberg, Koenigsberg, Hidelberg, and hundreds of others. In Switzerland, Austria and Bavaria, where there are many mountains, names ending in Berg and Berger are especially frequent. The peak of the mountain was the ornHHorn, as in Berghorn and Matterhorn.

77. People were often designated by the stream or creek on which they lived. As in the case of the name Berg, the name Bach (brook) was often a shortened form of a compound name. The appended list of names contains scores of compounds containing back, examples being Auerbach, Bacher, Bachmann and Rauschbach. In Pennsylvania the name Bach and its compounds are often written as Baugh because the English scribes knew the sound “ch” only in Scots names. These still retained the sound and indicated it with “gh,” whereas the sound had long since ceased in English and survived only in the archaic spelling of words like “through” and “though.” Unfortunately, the first syllable of these Pennsylvania names with “baugh” is often corrupted beyond recognition. In Pennsylvania the names Bach and Bacher also appear as Pack and Packer.

80. Although Germany has been well drained for the last few centuries, it was, as Tacitus reported, a land of vast swamps. As a result we find many name-roots referring to marshes, bogs, and swamps such as Bruehl, Bruch, Lache, Mar, Miles, Moor, Moos, Ohl, Pfutze, Pfuhl, Schlade, Schlier, Siech, Seifen, Struth, and Sutte. Unfortunately, it is not possible to translate names containing these roots precisely without knowing from which areas their bearers came. For example the word “bruch” (in Low German spelled (brock, broek), and brook, and cognate with English “brook” and “brake”) had various meanings, but it usually meant a damp clearing in a swampy forest.  Since that definition is too cumbersome, we will translate it as “brake” as in Canebrake.” The same name, Bruch, can also designate a quarry. The root mar meaning “swamp,” as in Marbach and Marburg, should not be confused with the root meaning “famous,” as found in Dietmar and Marbold. It is to be remembered that a surname like Marbach may commemorate a place that had long been drained before the family name was assumed.

81. A marsh or bog is often indicated by a root meaning reeds or bulrushes, as in the case of riet and reth in Riet and Rethmeyer.  The concept of “marsh mountain” sounds contradictory, yet we find it expressed by our Southern[2] word “hammock” (for hummock).  However, in some areas there are actually marshes (moor) on the tops of mountains, as in the Sauerland Mountains of Westphalia. The word mor should not be confused with English “moor,” which usually denotes a dry heath, which in German is a Heide.

84. Many names were based on words for fields or pastures. The words Acker[3] and Feld (field) supplied many American names such as Acker, Ackers, and Ackerman, as well as Feld, Felder, Feldman, and Rheinfelder. Low land, usually lying along a body of water, was an “au,” as in Reichenau on Lake Constance and also in the surnames Aumann and Aumueller.  A man living on an au was an auer, as in Reitenauer and Rheinauer.  Another word for meadow was Wiese, and a man living on it was a Wiessener or a Wiesmann. Only in Switzerland does one find matt (cognate with English mead and meadow), which designated a meadow that was mowed and is found in the surname Durrenmatt. The word Weide denoted a pasture, as in the name Fuellenweide (foals meadow); and so did the word Anger, as in names like Anger, Angermann, and Angermeyer.  Smaller than a field is a Garten (garden), which may be a Baumgarten (orchard), two words that furnish many names such as Gartner and Baumgaertner.

122. People often bore the name of the city of their origin. Some just took the name of the city itself, such as Rosenheim or Bamberg, but most took the designation of the inhabitants of the town, as in the case of New Yorker as opposed to New York. Consequently, we find the American names Basler, Bamberger, Berner, Bremer (Bremen), Frankfurter, Hamberger, Mainzer (and Mentzer), Posner (Posen), Rosenheimer, Strassburger, and legions more. A Frankfurter need not have come from the large city on the Main; he could have come from the smaller Frankfurt on the Oder or from any of many places where the Franks forded a stream.

123. Not only cities, but even small hamlets and villages supplied surnames. Some of these ended in the Germanic roots dorf (village, compare English “thorp”), heim (homestead, hamlet, cf. English “ham”), hagen (enclosure, hedge), and igen, a root referring to a group of followers, as in the case of Sigmaringen, the place where Sigmar’s people lived.  A secondary meaning of ing is a vague concept of belonging, for example, Huelzing (belonging to a forest) and Aiching (belonging to the oaks).

148. Within the Jewish community, or ghetto, simple names usually sufficed; if not, the fathers name could be added. When the Jews were emancipated at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries, they were required to take surnames for the purpose of taxation. If they had their choice many chose common German names that began with the same consonant as their “holy” or “synagogue” name. Thus, Menachem might choose Mendel just for its initial sound, and Nathan might choose Nadler for the same reason, not because he made needles. Some merely re-arranged the letters, so that Lewi became Weil. Even after assuming gentile-sounding Decknamen (cover names), religious Jews still considered their synagogue names to be their true names, for which they felt an emotional attachment. When given a choice, some Jews chose romantic names such as Morgenthau (morning dew), Blumenthal (flower valley), Lilienthal (lily valley), Rosenberg (rose mountain), Silberstein (silver stone), and their like. Although Americans often consider such names to be Jewish, they are straight German names, for such names were current in sentimental novels at the time that Jews were taking civil names. The name Rosenkranz (rosary) is certainly more appropriate for a Catholic than for a Jew, and the name Rosenberg was born by the Nazi ideologist who rote The Mythos of the Twentieth Century.

Cassell’s English & German Dictionary, copyright 1965

In this reference the closest word(s) to Rorer/Rorrer/Rehrer/Rohrer listed are:

Rohr, n. (-(e) s, -e) reed, cane: tube, pipe; flute; barrel (of guns); spanishes -Spanish reed, cane; indishes -, bamboo; geschweiß-, welded tube; sich auf ein schwaches - stützen, trust to a broken reed; (Prov.) wer im - sitzt, hatgut Pfeifen schneiden, its all right for you to talk. -ammer, f. reed bunting (Orn.). -ansschluß,  m. pipe-joint.  -bruch, m. burst pipe.  -brunnen, m. artesian well. -dommel, f. bittern (Orn.). -en, adj. of cane, wicker.  -flöte, f. reed-pipe.  -förmig, adj. tubular.  -geflecht, n. wickerwork, basket work. -ig, adj. reedy, overgrown with reeds.  -kolben, m. reed-mace (Bot.).  -krepierer, m. barrel burst (Artil.).  -leger, m. pipe-fitter, plumber.  -leitung, f. pipe-line, conduit. -matte, f. rush-mat.  -mündung, f. muzzle (of a gun).  -netz, n. pipes, conduit. -rahmen, m. tubular chassis (Motor.).  -rücklauf, m. barrel recoil.  -schmied, m. gun-barrel-maker.  -seele, f. bore (of a gun.).  ­spaz, m; (coll.) wue eub -spaz schimpfen, scold like a fishwife.  -stock, m. cane; bamboo.  -stuhl, m. cane, wicker or baxket-chair.  -weite, f. bore, calibre.  -werk, n. tubing; tube mill; wicker work; reed-stop (Org.).  -zange, f. pipe wrench.  -zerspringer, m., see -krepierer.  -zucker, m. cane-sugar.

Röhr-e, f. (-en) pipe, tube; (wireless) valve (radio tube); canal, duct, conduit; flue, shaft, tunnel, cylinder; small recess in a stove (for baking or keeping things warm).  -en, v.n. (aux. h.) fit with tubes; bell (of stags).  -enförmig, adj. fistular, tubular.  -engang, m. conduit, piping.  -enkessel, m. cylinderical boiler.  -enknochen, m. hollow bone.  -enwasser, n. pipe-water.  -enwerk, n. tubing, piping.  -icht, n. reeds.  -ig, adj. reed-like; tubular; containing pipes.

German Language References: (rendered here largely in German, translations to be made in future editions)

HEINTZE-CASCORBI Die Deutschen Familiennamen, geschichtlich, geographisch, sprachlich

Siebente, sehr verbesserte und vermehrte Auflage, herausgegeben von Prof. Dr. Paul Cascorgi, 1933 Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses G.m.b.H, Halle/S.. Berlin.

Röderer. der aus Rödern (Elaß); Conradus Roderer um 1300 in Bergheim.  Auch Patr. A. von Röder wäre möglich.

Röhler. der aus Röhl (Rhein prov. oder Röhlau (Schlesien).

Röhmhild. der aus Röhmhild (bei Hildberghausen).

Röhn. mhd. rone ‘verdorrte Baum”. Daran wohnt Rohn(e), Ro(h)ner, Röhn(er).  Rohner (Schlesien) der aus Rohne oder Rohnau.  Zss. Ronacher vgl. -ach 2), Ranacher (Tirol, Nicolaus imRonach 1394, Toldo in dem R. 1380; Rombach(er).

Rohr. 1. ahd. mhd. als Sammelwort C Röhrict.  Vielfach als Flurname und N. bewohnter Örter.  Praedium situm in dem Rore, quod colit mag.  Berchtholdus de Rore 1292 Socin; Rorer 1460 Freidburg; Ulr. Rorer 1349 Tirol; Conradus dictus Rorich 1272, C. cognomine Rohrig 1276 Bamberg.

FN. Rohr; Vogelrohr;  Röhri(ch)t, Röhrig, Rörich; Röhrl(e).  Zss. Röhrborn; Rohracher, -bach, -berg, -egger, -hirsch, -lack, -mann, -meier, -moser, -müller, -wasser, -wedel.

Ableitung aur -er: Ro(h)rer; Neurohrer  (Tirol)

2. mhe. rôrem röre ‘Rohr  Röhre, KanalA.

Zss. Feuerrohr; Rohrmeister (s. Meister); Röhrkasten.

Röhr-, Roht-, Rohw- s. HrôÞiz¸ (V.). Rohweber s. Weber.

Röp- s. HrôÞiz¸ (V., zweist. K.).

Röper s. Rufer.  Ropeter s. Petrus.

Ropp- s. HrôÞiz¸ (V).

Rördanz. Satz.-N. ‘rühre den TanzA d. i. hebe den Tanz an.  Auch Rohrdanz. Vgl. Tanz.

Ror- s. a) I HrôÞiz¸ b) . Rohr. HrôÞiz¸(V.).

Rorup. der aus R. (Westf., alt



Abkürzungen (used in the above listings)  Abbreviations (Translation where known)

ahd.        althochdeutsch             Old High German[4]

Bed.        Bedeutung                  meaning; importance

einst. K.   einstämmige Kürzung.       “Nickname” or shortened form

EN.         Eigenname.                

F.          Form                      

FN.         Familienname.              Family Name

m.          männlich                  

mhd.        mittelhochdeutsch.         Middle High German

N.          Name.                      Name

niederd.    niederdeutsch.             Lower German

O.          Ort.                       Place, region, locality

oberd       oberdeutsch                Upper German, South German

ON.         Ortsname.                  Place name.

patr. A.    patronymische Ableitung.   Patronymic

pat. Zss.   patronymische Zusammenzetzung.      Patronymic combination.

PN.         Personenname.              Personal name.

s.          siehe                      See, refer to.

südd.       südeutsch (südlich vom Main). South German (South of the Main River).

V.          Vollname.                 

Zss.        Zusammensetzung.           Combination, compound

zweist. K   zweistämmige Kürzung       second abbreviation


Den neuhochdeutschen Familien namen sind die ad. Vollnamen vorangestellt C wenn nicht urkundlich nachgewiesen und nur vorausgesetzt, in Klammer, z. B. unter Bandwôn: Bandhart, aber (Bandheri).  Die gekürzten altdeutschen Formen dagegen sind, wenn auch nachweisbar, der Raumersparnis wegen nicht durchgängig aufgeführt worden.  Eine Zahl bei einem altdeutschen Namen, z. B. Arnust 8., bezeichnet das Jahrhundert, in dem er zuerst nachgewiesen ist.


Die von Orts bezeichnungen abgeleiteten zusammengesetzten Familiennamen suche man unter dem Grundwort, z. B. Bärenreuth, Vogelreuter unter Reut.  (Die wichtigsten dieser Grundwörter sieh auf S. 61 f.; vgl. auch die Endungen -a, -ach, -eder, -er, -eter, -etter  -ich, -in, -itz, -mann, -o, -ow.)



Familien- und Vornamen nach Ursprung und Sinn erklärt.


Roder, Röder, Röders. kontrahiert Rohr, Röhr, Röer, Röhrs (Hbg. alle oft), beruhen auf dem altd. Pers. N. Rod-her (germ. Hrôd-hari +ruhmvoll im Heer*) obd. Rot-her, Ruther, Vgl. Roderus,  pomm. Ritter 1254, Rod(h)erus 1282 Ro., Lüb., Bre,em. Jemr/ IroderI 1299 Ro., Nic. Röder 1385 Greifsw.

Röder, Röder (obd.) ist Herk. N.: aus Röodern (Sa.) oder auch Rode; Roda; bgl. Bert Roder = Bert. von Röder 1257 Frlf/. Eglof Röder 1484 Ortenau, Conr. Röderer 1300 ebda. Merkel Röder 1395/Eger.  Zu Röderer vgl. Riederer (ON. Riedern u. ä.

Roderian (ndd.) = roter Jan (Johann), wie Guderian = guter Jan.

Rödiger (Hbg. oft) ndd. Form für Rüdiger, mit der Variante Rödinger (Hbg.): yejsk, Rodiger(us)  neben Rodinger(us) 1260 Rol, Lüb. (Obd. beachte den ON.  Rödingen, Rödigen!) S. auch Röttger, Röttcher!  Patr. ist ndd Röding Röddubg (Hbg.): schon 1269 Petrus Rodingus in Hbg.

Rodler, Rödler:  amtl. Schreiber (mlat. rotularius), bes. der Zinsrodel (rotula +Schriftrolle, Register*); Jungenickel Rodeler((H 1451 Lg., Joh. Rodler 1550 Baden.

Röhl, Röhle s. Röhlke!

Rohr (oft.):  zum häufigsten Flur- u. ON. Rohr +Röhricht, Schilfdickicht*. Dazu auch obd.Rohrer.  Albrecht Rorer = A. von dem Ror 1330 b. Eger (ON. Rohr). Vgl. auch Röhrle u. Röhreke.  Peter Rohuon 1330 Colmar.  Rohrbach(er), Rohrbeck usw.  Rohrmann, Rohrmaier, Rohrmoser.  Auch Röhr, soweit nicht ndd. aus Röder kontrahiert, vgl. in Hbg. oft Röhrs, d. i. Röders, nebst Röhrssen. Röhrig (oft), Röhrich(t):  Schles., Sa., Thür., Bay. usw. = sumpfiges, schilfiges Gebüsch, Schilfdickitch; s. auch Rohr! Conr. Rorich 1272 Bamberg, Hug Rörich1332 Horb/ Württ., Pauwel Rörich 1372 Lg. Ein VN. Rorich einst in Ritterkreisen: Rorich Grausel (Edelknecht) 1300/Wetzlar.

Röhrkasten: ON. b. Stadthagen (1185 Rotherkissen = Roderikshusen!).

Röhse s. Rose! - Rohwed(d)er (Hbg. oft): ndd., auf rohe, rauhe Gemütsart deutend, vgl. Bösewetter, Brausewetter Schönwetter. Henr. Roweder 1302 Ro. (Lüb., Greifsw.). Verschliffen:

Rohwer (Hbg.). Vgl. Wehrhahn = Wederhan.

Röhwer s. Röwer! Rohwedel: ÖN. s. Marwedel!

Rön(i)sch, Röhnisch, Röntsch (O. Laus., Sa. oft) s. Reinisch, Renisch (KF. zu Reinhard, Reinhold)!  Vgl Bö(h)nisch für Benisch (Benedikt). Das Schwanken zwischen ö und ë ist die Folge der mundartl.  Entrundung im sächs.-schles.  Raum.  Ebenso Rönelt neben Renelt (Nickel Ränolt 1414 Mähren).

Röprnack (ndd.): +raufden Nacken!*  ÜN. des Raufbolds.  Vgl. Raufenbart.  Gerh. Ropenacke 1325 Lüb., Thid. R. 1277 Strals., Bernh. R. 1287 i. W

Röper (Hbg. oft): ndd. C Ausrufer. Joh Ropere 1291 Ro. (auch Lüb., Btrmrn, Htrigde.).

Ropers  (ndd.), Ropertz (ndrhein.) C Roppers, Roppertz (+Robert’s*).

Röp(ch)ke (ndd)., Hbg., Meckl. oft) wie Röbke (s. dies!) = Robert, Ropert.  Joh. Ropke, Sohn des Ropeke v. Tribsees 1325/32 Strals.; noch 1535 in Settin: Ropeke Graßhorn.  Auch Röpe, Röpkes, Röpking (patr.).

Rördanz s. Rördanz!  Rörup (Rührup) is der Unruhstifter.  Vgl. Conr. Rörbrand 1375 Lüb.  (wie Hebe-, Stokebrand).  Rörwolf ist der Wolf im Röhricht, - Röring (ndd.) C Röhtivhy (Joh. Roring 1288) bzw. C Rörup.

Rorich war rhein.-hess.-obd.  VN. in Ritterkreisen!  Rorich v Greifenstein 1274 b. Wetzlar.  Rorich grauesel (Edelknecht) ebda.

Abkürzungen (used in the above references)      Abbreviations (translation where known or needed)


MA.         Mittelalter             middle Ages

Wb.         Wörterbuch              Dictionary

s.          siehe                   see

Sprachbezeichnungen:                Dialects:

ahe.        althochdeutsch          old high German

alem.       alemmanisch

altd.       altdeutsch              old German

bair.       bairisch

dt.         deutsch                 German

frk.        fränkisch               French

fries.      friesisch               Friesian (dialect spoken on the North Sea coast )

holld.      holländisch             Dutch

md.         mitteldeutsch           middle German

mhd.        mittelhochdeutsch       middle high German

mnd.        mittelneiderdeutsch     middle low German

ndd.        neiderdeutsch           low German

mdld.       niederländish           Dutch (almost the same as Holländisch)

ndrhein.    niederrheinisch         lower Rhineland dialect

nordd.      norddeutsch             north German

ovd.        oberdeutsch             upper German

südd.       süddeutsch              south German


BN.         Berufsname             

FN.         Familienname            family name

Heil. N.    Heiligenname           

Herk. N.    Herkunftsname          

ON.         Ortsname                place name

ÖN.         Örtlichkeitsname       

VN.         Vorname                 surname

Kf          Kurzform (Koseform)     short form

Metr.       Netronym               

Patr.       Patronym                patronymic

Landschafen:                              Geographical Areas:

Meckl.      Mecklenburg             Grand Duchies of Mecklenburg

(on the Baltic sea coast)

OBay.       Oberbayern              Upper Bavaria ( County then Duchy)

OÖ.         Oberösterreich          Upper Austria (Grand Duchy)

Pomm.       Pommern                 Pommerania (on the Baltic sea coast)

Sa.         Sachsen                 Saxony

Wesf.       Westfalen               Westphalia

Württ.      Württemberg             Grand Duchy then Kingdom in south Germany

Orte:                               Cities

Brschwg.    Braunschweig            Brunswick

Brsl.       Breslau                 Breslau

Eßl.        Eßlingen                Esslingen

Flsbg.      Flensburg               Flensburg

Frkf.       Frankfurt               Frankfurt am Main

Görl.       Görlitz


Greifsw.    Greifswald

Haldsl.     Haldensleben

Hbg.        Hamburg

Hann.       Hannover

Lpz.        Leipzig

Lg.         Liegnitz

Lüb.        Lübeck

Mchn.       München                 Munich

Nbg.        Nürenberg

Reutl.      Reutlingen

Ro.         Rostock

Strals.     Stralsund


Atlas references:

Der Grosse Shell Atlas, (German language road atlas) 1963/64 edition, lists these town names:

Röhl, Röhlingen, Röhrchen, Röhrda, Röhren, Röhrenbergerhütte, Röhrenfurth, Röhrigshof, Röhrnbach, Röhrsdorf, Röpersdorf, Roermond, Rohr, Rohrau, Rohrbach (16 times), Rohrbeck, Rohrberg, Rohrberg, Rohrbrunn, Rohrdorf, Rohren, Rohrenfels, Rohrhof, Rohrlack, Rohrmoos, Rohrmünz, Rohrschweier, Rohrsdorf, Rohrsen, Rohrsheim, Rohrstetten, Rohrweiler, Rohstorf, Rorbas, Rorgenwies, Rorichum, Roringen, Rorschach and Rorup.

The river Rore (or Rur in its modern spelling) rises near the town of Rohren, in western Germany near the border with Belgium, and flows into the river Mass at the town of Roermond in the Netherlands.

My family origins:

At present nothing is really known about the origins of my second great grandfather, the first Leonard George Rorer, Oral family history, as gathered by yr cousin Francis Thrasher, has him as being “a carpenter born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.”[5] Beyond that nothing is known of his antecedents, where he came from, his parents, siblings etc. Therefore we do not really know from what area of Europe his forbearers came from[6] or if his parents spelled his name Rorer as we have since 1849. 

Duane Rorrer, whose family once spelled their name as Rorer, wrote, “Mr. Herbert Rorer (President of William H. Rorer Pharmaceutical Company) of Philadelphia, Pa., has said that the oldest ancestor of whom they have a record was a Heinrigh or Henry Rorer. He immigrated to this country in 1735 and settled near Philadelphia. He had one brother (name unknown) who went on to Lancaster County, Pa. Henry was born in Westenburg, on the German side, of the Swiss German border, at the time. Henry had five sons; Henry, Jacob, George, John and Joseph.

The 1790 Census of Pa. shows a John and Christian Rorer, and an Isaac, Jacob, John and John Jr. Rohrer in Lancaster County. There were also George, Jacob, John and Joseph Rorer in Philadelphia County in 1790. I do not know if Leonard George Rorer was descended from this unknown person.

Nor have the two persons who appear to have done the most extensive research on The Rohrer/Rorer surnames ever come across mention of Leonard George Rorer. Don Spidel and Bud Neal did extensive research in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Mennonite Church archives, literally tracking down every mention of those names and eventually co-operated in writing a book on them.

Unfortunately, Don passed away in 1999 though his web page still maintained by his wife in his memory. Bud Neal has become too busy with his law practice to be active in genealogy any more.


Taken from A History of Pittsylvania County Virginia page 46:

Young Abram Rohrer, son of Abram Rohrer, a native of Switzerland, followed Harmon Cook from Pennsylvania to Virginia, and marrying Cook’s daughter, founded the Rorer family of the county.

Abram Rorer and his wife had issue four sons, Rudolph, Charles, David and Abram. David studied law and removed to Iowa, where he became a distinguished jurist. Abram Jr. married Mary Wright and settled near his father in the northwestern part of the county. In his will proven September 17, 1855, he named son Ferdinand Rorer and daughters Angeline Jamrs Harvey, Aquella Ann Lipscomb and Malitta Miller.

NOTE: However, this entry is included as an illustration of how the family name could have changed from the original spelling


The Rehrer/Rohrer Family of Berks & Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

The following was excerpted from "Early Immigrants from Germany and Switzerland to Eastern Pennsylvania," by Russell George LeVan, Gateway Press Inc., Baltimore, MD, 1990. 929.2 L655 R.R.

Found in the Cincinnati Historical Society library


What makes this particular genealogy interesting is not that it is directly connected to the Rorer/Rorrer family(s) but that it illustrates another variation in the spelling of the name, and the necessity of keeping in mind the pronunciation of a name in the original language. In English the name Rohrer/Rorer/Rorrer is pronounced as in the English phrase "to Roar.” I.e. as one syllable with the tongue held almost steady!  In German the same name is pronounced as two syllables with, on the second syllable, the tip of the tongue coming up to flick the roof of the mouth, then going back down and the entire tongue then being pulled to the back of the mouth.

I studied German for a number of years, though I never achieved fluency, and when doing so was acquainted with a number of native speakers. Hence, became very familiar with the sound of the German pronunciation of Rohrer/Rorer.


Duane Rorrer, who has been researching his Rorrer/Rorer family[7], wrote the following "In our records, we have found the family surname spelled Rorer, Rorrer, Rohrer, Rohr, Ruhrer, Roehrer, Rorh, Roar, and Ruhr. The Mormon Genealogical Society states that these are all related and are of the same family."

This is very true, yet in English, because of the spelling, these variations are pronounced quite differently.  viz Ruhr as opposed to Rorer. In all cases this is consistent with the German pronunciation of the name, which gives a different sound to the Ro/Ru syllable than English does.

 The usual spelling encountered has the H (Rohrer) or the Y (Royer) and usual variations involve dropping the H, the Y or the last E, all of which in English are generally silent. I have recently come across the variation Rohwer which would seem to follow the same rule.

In the following the first O was changed to an E by some, but not all branches of the family.  There are two genealogies which are done in slightly differing formats, hence can be a bit confusing at first glance, however, I have kept faithfully to the original.

David Rorer, August 9, 1998


[Pages 245 through page 250. Partial words in square brackets are my own additions otherwise the text is as written by Russell George LeVan.]

At this time, the early division of the Rohrer's has made it imperative that I start with:

William Rohrer b. 28 Dec 1798, place unknown. He m. 16 Jan 1821 Fanny Eysiman b. 4 Nov 1803. They were living at Adamstown Lancaster Co. on Border of Berks Co. Their children were:

l. A Susanne b. 16 Jul 1821 ‑ lived 6 mo., 11 days

1.B. William b. 11 Dec 1822 ‑ single d. 10 Oct 1846 at 23 yrs

1.C. Catharine b. 26 Dec 1825 m. John Slote

1.D. Samuel b. 28 Feb 1828 m. Caroline Slote

1.E. Elizabeth b. 31 Mar 1830 m. Jacob Reager. She was buried at Adamstown 25 Mar 1912, no record of any children.

1.F. John b. 18 May 1832 m/lst May Slote; m/2nd Sally Giesinger

1.G. Henry b. 26 Oct. 1834 m. Emma Renninger

1.H. Fanny no date m. Abraham Lutz. No other record.

1.I. Jacob no date m/lst Mary Slegel; m/2nd Rose Renninger   No Other record.


1.C. Catharine and John Slote who are both buried at the Adamstown Gem. ‑ Catharine d. 28 Apr 1904, John Slote d. 20 Oct 1909

Their children:

2.A Henry Slote b. 23 Jan 1850, d. 16 Oct 1853 ‑ 3 yrs

2.B. Stillborn

2.C. Samuel b. 9 Aug 1851, d.?

2.D. William b. 31 Mar 1853, d.?

2.E. John R b. 27 Aug 1855, d.?

2.F. Fanny b. 6 Dec 1857, d. 24 Nov 1884

2.G. Catharine R b. 1864, d. 1930

2.H. Emma R b. 28 Feb 1868, d.?


1.D. Samuel Rehrer[8] d. 26 Jun 1868, wife Caroline, no dates, buried at Adamstown Gem. Their children:

2.A Sarah Slote b. 1854, d. 24 Sep 1933, single

2.B. Mary no dates, m. Henry Spatz

2.C. Stillborn


1.F. John who d. 28 Mar 1896, wife Mary Slote b. 18 May 1834, d. 22 Aug 1881; both buried at Aulenbach Cem., Reading, Pa Their children:

2.A Emma b. 29 Oct 1856, d. 30 Nov 1859

2.B. George William b. 19 Sep 1858, d. 27 Feb 1939, Paul's father

2.C. Ella S. b. 12 Mar 1861, d. 14 Apr 1881

2.D. Lizzie b. 25 Dec 1856

All the children but George William had no offspring.


2.B. George William d. 27 Feb 1939 and wife Clara Junetta Gerhart b. 15 May 1860, d, 20 May 1935; both buried at Evans Cem., Reading, Pa Their children:

3.A John Franklin 1 Jun 1882, d. 9 Mar 1963

3.B. George Robert b. 4 Mar 1881, d. 15 Aug 1933

3.C. Paul Leroy b. 13 Aug 1889 m. Norma Rhea Trumbore. Paul was an electrician for the Carpenter Steel Co. for 30 years and a Mason Lodge 62 of Reading. He died on 31 Aug 1968, buried in Aulenbach's Gem. They had 2 sons, Harvey Eugene and Wilson Paul who has one son Robert Wilson and Harvey has a son Lawrence Paul and daughter. Diane Elizabeth.  They are twins.


1.G. Henry Rehrer[9] 7th child of William and Fanny, b. 26 Oct 1834, d. 19 May 1911; m. Emma C Renninger (see under Renninger) b. 21 Sep 1&13, d. 5 Dec 1917.  Henry served in the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War. Both buried at Aulenbach. Their children and descendants:

2.A Florence (Flora) R. b. 29 May 1871, d. 28 Nov 1889, 18, single, buried at Aulenbach Gem., Reading.

2.B. Pierson died 2 yrs. old

2.C. Jennie died 2 yrs. old

2.D. Irvin b. 10 Dec 1873, d. 4 Jul 1945 2.E. Warren b. 11 Jan 1882, d. 8 Oct 1918


2.D. Irvin Rehrer b. 10 Dec 1873, d. 4 Jul 1945, wife Anna Smith, b. 18 Mar 1872, d. 30 Dec 1947. (See under Smith our line Anna Smith Father ‑ Clara Smith, Leonard LeVan, Russell LeVan, Wife.)   Irvin and Anna buried at St. Peter's Reformed Church Cemetery near Nolltown, Berks Co., PA. Children:

3.A. Raymond Henry Rehrer b. 18 Mar 1896, wife Laomi Houser. His present address 111 South Queen St., Columbia, SC 29205. I came south in the early 1920's but lived in many places, including Europe for many years. Am retired. Always liked the South, so came back. His letter dated 3 Aug 1965. One of Raymond's former locations had been 315 1/2 Pickwick Lane, Houston 21, Texas. This by Florence Rehrer. Children:

3.B. Florence Marie Rehrer b. 22 Feb 1899, single res. 928 Green St., Reading, PA.    Children:

4.A. Jeanne Rehrer b. 19 Feb 1923, m. Thomas A. Most from Mass.

5.A Geoffrey Most b. 13 Jan 1949

5.B. Michele Most b. 10 May 1954

4.B. Raoul Rehrer b. 31 Dec 1925 m. Lois Powers b. in Alabama.  Raoul resigned from the Air Force and is now a research Marine Biologist for the University of Miami. They live south of Miami, FL. Raoul had also been in Hawaii. (Air Force) Children:

5.C. Raymond Rehrer b. 5 Jul 1956

5.D. Robin Maria Rehrer b. 22 Dec 1957

5.E. Sarah Elizabeth b. 3 Jan 1959, d. Nov 1964 killed by car.

5.F. Matthew James b. Oct 1964


2.E. Warren Rehrer b.  11 Jan  1882, d. 8 Oct  1918 m. Rose McCullough b. 1st. Mar 1888, d. 21 Apr 1951. Children:

3.A. Flora M. Rehrer b. 1 Dec 1910, m. Samuel J. Werner b. 13 Mar 1904, res. 1903 Fairview St., Reading, Pa Children:

4.A Joseph John Werner b. 30 Jun 1931 m. Shirley A Schell

4.B. John Warren Werner b. 13 Sep 1932 m. Elizabeth D. Drop. Children:

5.A Michael David b. 31 May 1962

5.B. Shelly S. b. 12 Oct 1965

5.C. John Warren, Jr. b. 14 Feb 1956

5.D. James Joseph b. 11 Apr 1959

5.E. Thomas Michael b. 3 Aug 1963


Thanks to Flora M. Werner and Russell LeVan for help on these records ‑ Paul L. Rehrer


After much research and eliminating, I have come to the conclusion, William Rehrer b. 1798, came from the Reyer and Royer family, as there are many records for the Rehrer family and no place for William to fit in. Also two men Dr. Daubert and Schuyler Brossman who have researched the Rehrer family could not place William who was born in Lancaster Co., PA. (So I will now list my answer to the problem).


The Royer family came to the U.S. in the very early 1700 to 1718 and settled in what is now Royersford, Montgomery Co[10]. The immigrant we are interested in is:


1.  Sabastian who left Royersford and moved to Elizabeth T[ownship] and is listed as purchaser of 100 acres of land on 3 Jan 1733.   He left two sons behind in Montgomery Co. out of which there were many descendants and I did not try and record them.  Sebastian lived near Brickersville and here is an account by Rev. Waldschmidt's own private records which lists White Oak or Sebastian Reyers' Church located at Sebastian's Reyers in Elizabeth T[ownship] now called Zion Church near Brickersville. In Oct 1753 it was resolved that the White Oak congregation be combined with Bastian Reyer's.


This new congregation located at Unionville in Penn. T[ownship] Jerusalem Church ‑ 60 members.


The PA Archives Series 2 ‑ Vol. 7 lists Sebastian as "a subject of the German Emperor of Protestant faith who was one of a group who transported themselves to Lancaster Co., PA between 1700 and 1718."


He was born about 1685 and died 13 Aug 1758, record of Will which lists wife Agnes and his son as exec. John Emich Royer.   Son John, other children whose names were not given.  His youngest son Amos lived in Cocalico T[ownship].


Tax lists show the following Royer and Reyers:


18 May 1743 ‑ George Reyer probably son of Sebastian 100 acres

May 1749 ‑ Amos Reyer 215 acres, son of Sebastian

1749 ‑ Philip Reyer 100 acres son of John Emich

1761 ‑ Peter Reyer 130 acres, son of John Emich

29 Jul 1767 ‑ Stuffield Reyer 136 acres, son of Sebastian

12 May 1785 ‑ Christian Reyer 5 acres, son of John Emich

1770 ‑ Daniel Reyer, son of John Emich 


2. Emich son of Sebastian was b. about 1705. He m. Catharine ? and lived in Cocalico T[ownship], a will on record, at his death 27 Mar 1769 which lists the following children:

3. Philip, Christian, Peter, John, Daniel Elizabeth, Catherine.


Further tax records show:

1779 - Berk Co. Henry Reyer a Miller lists 4 persons in house, 3 sheep, 2 horses, 1 cow. Christofer 190 acres, Jacob 100 acres, and Samuel 200 acres, 4 horses and 8 cows.

1787  George Reyer 250 acres, 1814 ‑ John 5 acres.

1782‑  Cocalico T[ownship]. Lancaster Co. Daniel 125 acres, 2 horses 4 cows.

1782 ‑ Cocalico T[ownship]. Lancaster Co. John 130 acres, 2 horses. 3 cows.

1771 ‑ Cocalico T[ownship]. Lancaster Co. Peter

1777‑ Records show John. Daniel and Peter Reyer in service, Revolutionary War.


1790 Census:

George Reyer and 4 males and 6 females Bethel T. Berks

Samuel Reyer 4 males and 6 females Bethel T[ownship] Berks


1800 Cocalico T[ownship] ‑ John Reyer Sr. over 45. 2 sons and wife over 45 1 daughter.

1800 Cocalico T[ownship] ‑ John Reyer Jr. 26 to 45 and wife 26 to 45

1800 Cocalico T[ownship] - Philip Reyer 26 to 45, 3 sons, wife 26‑45, 1 daughter.

1800 Cocalico T[ownship] - David Reyer 26 to 45, 1 son, wife 26‑45

1800 Cocalico T[ownship] ‑ Ephraim Reyer 26 to 45, 4 sons, wife 26-45, 3 daughter.

1800 Bethel T[ownship] ‑ Samuel Royer over 45, 2 sons, wife over 45, 1 daughter.

1800 Bethel T[ownship] - Jacob Rehrer 26‑45, 1 son William, wife 26‑45, 1 daughter.

1800 Bethel T[ownship] - Christian Rehrer 26‑45, 2 sons, wife 26-45, 2 daughter.


3. Philip Royer, son of Emich died 10 Jul 1810 listed in a will as living in Cocalico T[ownship]. ‑ wife Elizabeth, children.

4. Samuel, John, Philip, Elizabeth


4. Samuel and Wife Maria Elizabeth lived in Bethel T[ownship].  He died on 12 May 1813. Children listed in his Will.

5. Christofer b. 25 Oct 1777 record of St. Paul or Klopp Ch. Bethel T[ownship]; Eva b. 1770 & d. 1841; Catharine; Elizabeth; Julianna; Samuel b. about 1772; Jacob b. about 1773 or 4 ; Wendel b. 14 Jun 1779


3. John Royer's Will of Cocalico T[ownship]. (either Son of Emich, or John) died 30 May 1810 ‑ Wife, Barbara, children.

4. Joseph, Elisabeth, Barbara Ann. Magdalene; m. Ephraim Hall.


2. John Reyer son of Sebastian had son John Henry b. 1729.

a. Another John Reyer and wife Susanna had these 3 children:

John b. 27 Feb 1796

Jacob b. 14 Feb 1801

Martha b. 18 Mar 1802


3. Daniel son of Emich lived in Cocalico T[ownship]. 9 Dec 1784, wife Catharine, no list of children. Will in German, John Royer, Exe(uter).

1820 Census ‑ Tulpehocken shows Jacob Rehrer as over 45 and wife over 45.  It shows a son 18 to 26 and William was 21 and not married, verifying him still at home.


2. Amos, youngest son of Sebastian lived in Cocalico T[ownship].  He had a son.

3. Philip b. about 1735‑44 now Philip also lived in Cocalico and left a Will when he died 20 Mar 1802, listing these children at time of death. He lived at Manheim T[ownship]. Wife Elizabeth.

4.A Abraham

4.B. Philip

4.C Jonathon plus 2 other sons omitted


Abraham Rohrer died in Manheim 1831. Will lists wife Magdalene

5.A Jacob

5.B Martin

Now Jacob married Elizabeth Stuber or Stober. He lived 77 years. Among their children was a son, William b. 1798.


6. William left a will in 1854. Book 5, Page 696.

   East Cocalico T. Lancaster ‑ wife Fanny, children

7. Catharine, Samuel Elizabeth, John, Henry, Fanny, and Jacob


The 1850 Census lists a Samuel Rehrer as 65, wife Elizabeth 58, Lydia 22, also Jacob 40, his wife Catherine, 41, children    William 9, Elizabeth 4, Martha 2 ‑ I believe this William is named after the above mentioned William am not sure of relation ties of this Samuel.


By Sarah Reher

My name is Sarah Rehrer. I'm 16 years of age and being completely bored on a Sunday night in the middle of the summer I stumbled across your page. I found my branch of the family, including the aunt I am named for as well as dad, grandfather, etc. The section of the site is under the address of: . I noted a few things of importance, or maybe no importance, but I shall note them anyway. First, the name Most, shown in the excerpt below, should be Mort. I would also like to continue on the family story as the data listed in the tree is no longer correct.

Lois Rehrer (maiden name Powers) died in the mid-1980-s. In the early 90's Raoul remarried to Susan Conner and together they have one son Warren Rehrer, born in December, 1992. The older children from the first marriage, had at this point all married. Raymond Joel Rehrer married Pauline Mary Cilladi and had me, Sarah Elizabeth Rehrer on September 14, 1985 in Bad Kreuznach,Germany.

Robin Rehrer married David Evans and they have a daughter, Morgan Evans, born on May 18, 1993 in Miami, FL.

Matthew James Rehrer married his wife Heather and together they have three children, Jacob Rehrer born on May 20, 1996 in Rockledge, FL, Jesse Rehrer born on September 18, 1999 in Rockledge, FL, and Emily Rose Rehrer, born May 14, 2002 in Rockledge, FL.

Raymond Rehrer retired as a Major from the United States Army and is now employed as an architect in Columbia, MD. He and his family live in Middletown, MD.

Robin Rehrer is a full time 2nd grade teacher in Palm Coast, FL, where she and her family also live.

Matthew Rehrer is now an X-ray technician in Rockledge, FL, where it is obvious that he and his family also live.

Raoul Rehrer has retired and is now also living in Palm Coast with and near his family. There you have it. Sarah Rehrer

PS: Clearer view of it all:

Raoul Rehrer m. Lois Powers (d. mid 1980's)

     Raymond Joel Rehrer m. Pauline Mary Cilladi

         Sarah Elizabeth Rehrer b. Sept. 14, 1985, Bad Kreuznach, Germany.

     Robin Maria Rehrer m. David Evans

         Morgan Evans b. May 18, 1993, Miami, Florida

    Matthew James Rehrer m. Heather

         Jacob Rehrer b. May 20, 1996, Rockledge, Florida

         Jesse Rehrer b. September 18, 1999, Rockledge, Florida

         Emily Rose Rehrer b. May 14, 2002, Rockledge, Florida


Raoul Rehrer m. Susan Conner

     Warren Rehrer b. December 1991, Miami, Florida

Raoul Rehrer - retired, living in Palm Coast, Florida

Raymond Rehrer - retired US Army, Architect in Columbia, Maryland, living in Middletown, Maryland

Robin Rehrer - 2nd grade teacher in Palm Coast, Florida, living in Palm Coast, Florida

Matthew Rehrer - X-ray technician in Rockledge, Florida, living in Rockledge, Florida


3.A. Raymond Henry Rehrer b. 18 Mar 1896, wife Laomi Houser. His present address 111 South Queen St., Columbia, SC 29205. I came South in the early 1920's but lived in many places, including Europe for many years. Am retired. Always liked the South, so came back. His letter dated 3 Aug 1965. One of Raymond's former locations had been 315 1/2 Pickwick Lane, Houston 21, Texas.

This by Florence Rehrer. Children:

3.B. Florence Marie Rehrer b. 22 Feb 1899, single res. 928 Green St., Reading, PA. Children:

4.A. Jeanne Rehrer b. 19 Feb 1923, m. Thomas A. Most from Mass.

5.A Geoffrey Most b. 13 Jan 1949

5.B. Michele Most b. 10 May 1954


     4.B. Raoul Rehrer b. 31 Dec 1925 m. Lois Powers b. in Alabama. Raoul resigned from the Air Force and is now a research Marine Biologist for the University of Miami. They live south of Miami; FL. Raoul had also been in Hawaii. (Air Force) Children:

     5.C. Raymond Rehrer b. 5 Jul 1956

     5.D. Robin Maria Rehrer b. 22 Dec 1957

     5.E. Sarah Elizabeth b. 3 Jan 1959, d. Nov 1964 killed by car.

     5.F. Matthew James b. Oct 1964


[1] The Coat-of-Arms came from Halberts, 3687 Ira Road Bath, Ohio 44210, tel (330) 945-8200. A company which specializes in making up so-called “Name Books” i.e. The Book of (insert name here), consisting mostly of boilerplate text to which is appended a list of names and addresses or birth and death records gleaned from various public sources. None of which are to be trusted for accuracy.

[2]American Southern dialect

[3]A measurement of land equivalent to .66 acre.

 [4]Hoch (High) or Neider (Low) used in reference to the German language means the geographical height above sea level, with niederdeutsch (low German) being the dialects spoken in the north German plain and hochdeutsch (high German) spoken in the higher elevations of south Germany or Switzerland.

Old High German and Middle High German etc. refers to general dialects spoken at specific times in history.


     [5]His second wife, Mary Sophie Doty in a deposition dated 23 July 1909, taken in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, claimed she had been told, by Leonard George Rorer, that "he was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1820 although he sometimes also mentioned Elkhart, Indiana as his birth place."

[6]My father, Everett Eugene Rorer claims to remember a story that the first Rorer's were three brothers who immigrated to Pennsylvania. However, he could not remember any other details. The problem with this story is that the “three brothers” story is so common that it has assumed the status of a genealogical legend, therefore I am inclined to discount it.

[7]There is a possibility that we are related to this family. However, we have never found proof. It is known that a member of this family went to Lancaster, Pa where the first Leonard George Rorer supposedly came from. The problem is that this persons name is not known. There fore, it is impossible to search for him with any certainty.

[8]Note change of spelling from Rohrer to Rehrer

[9]Again note change of spelling from Rohrer to Rehrer