I have always been interested in the origins of my maiden name of Rorer. The name sounded to me as though it was of Germanic origin although I never heard anyone say that was the case. Many German speaking people settled in the southeastern part of Pennsylvania so that reinforced my belief that the Rorer family had its origins in a Germanic part of Europe. Perhaps no one spoke of the Rorer family's origins because the first immigrant was so many years in the past that the memory had been lost.

Many surnames evolved from the location, occupation, or physical characteristic of the individual bearing the name. According to Rootsweb.com (freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~royer/Rorer.htm), the meaning of Rohrer seems to refer to a dweller by the rushes. Since there were many areas in Europe where people lived near bogs or marshes containing rushes, carrying the surname of Rorer/Rorrer/Rehrer or Rohrer does not imply that there is a relationship between the parties.

Rootsweb.com also indicated that, in the 1790 census, there were twenty five families in the United States with the surname of Rohrer, Rorer, or Rorrer. Thirteen were in Pennsylvania and twelve were in Maryland. The currently unique spelling of our surname without the more commonly found “h” may acutally be one of the earliest spelling formats. This spelling has been reported as early as 1330, Albrecht Rorer, and 1349, Ulrick Rorer in the Tyrol.

My father, Laurence Frank “Mickey” Rorer mentioned several “facts” that he heard about the Rorer Family. 1. They always spelled the name “Rorer” without the more commonly seen “h” as in 'Rohrer.'' 2. The Rorers had always been Presbyterian. 3. His Rorer family residing in Doylestown, Bucks, PA was related to the Rorers of North Wales, Montgomery, PA and to the husband of Sarah Tyson Rorer, a famous cookbook author. The information presented in the subsequent Part Two of this Rorer family history will show that Number 1 and Number 3 were true. Number 2 needs modification.

This report is Part One of the history of the Rorer family. I started with my father and worked my way up the family tree. Thanks to the help provided by Paul Rorer, a distant cousin who has researched the family for decades, I got as far back as my third great grandfather, Jacob Rorer, through the use of various documents and written records. Jacob was born circa 1780 and died after 1840. This information is contained in Part One of the family history. Next I researched forward from the immigrant from Basel, Heinrich Rorer, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1740. He and his wife, Margaret Grieder, also from Switzerland, had five sons and three daughters. Paul and I have been able to bring the Rorer family up to the present time following the descendants of these eight children. We have been able to prove that all those who spell the name as we do, without the “h”, residing in the three counties of Philadelphia, Montgomery and Bucks descend from the same couple, Heinrich, aka Henry, Rorer and his spouse, Margaret Grieder. The only exception: my third great grandfather, Jacob Rorer. Neither Paul nor I has been able to find the names of his parents in the extant church records, deeds or probate records.

This report begins with my third great grandfather, Jacob Rorer and delineates his descendants. The report compiles what is known of this Jacob and lays out the reasoning used to declare that he must be a grandson of the immigrant couple.

In the future, I plan to compile what is known of the entire family. This complete report will begin in the 1500's in Switzerland and follow the Rorers to Philadelphia and include the offspring of the eight children born in eighteenth century Pennsylvania.