Updated June 9, 2019

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Family name origins & meanings

  • English : occupational name for someone who constructed or repaired roofs, from an agent derivative of Middle English roof (Old English hrōf). In the Middle Ages roofs might be thatched with reeds or straw, or covered with tiles, slates, or wooden shingles.
  • German and English : nickname for an unscrupulous individual, from Middle Low German rōver ‘pirate’, ‘robber’, Middle English rover. The English verb rove ‘to wander’ is probably a back-formation from this, and is not attested before the 16th century, so it is unlikely to lie behind any examples of the surname.
  • German : variant of Röver (see Roever).