Orourke / Family History
The family history of the ancient name O'Rourke was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. This Irish surname originated from the Norse name Hrothrekr. In ancient times the O'Rourkes were a powerful family, being Lords of Breffny and producing three Kings of Connaught. Their chieftains ruled territory in Cavan and Leitrim, where their stronghold was Dromahair on Lough Gill. After their land was confiscated by the Crown, they headed for Europe where they distinguished themselves in a variety of exalted positions. Their descendants are still among the important families of Russia and Poland. Joseph O'Rourke, Prince O'Rourke in Russian aristocracy, was General in Chief of the Russian Empire in 1700.The O'Rourke family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including O'Rourke descendants.