Ruscoe Chronicles – vol. 01/1

March 2005 (original January 1995)

It is ten years ago since this document was first produced and posted by snail mail to people with the RUSCOE surname. Since then it has been sent by email, but now it appears on the website hosted by Tony Ruscoe. I picked up the idea of the Ruscoe Chronicles from earlier researches and particularly Greg (R. W. Gregory) who was researching for his friend the late Bill Ruscoe of Coventry. Fortunately Greg was able to trace Bill’s family back from London to Shropshire before Bill’s death and before Greg had to give up the work because of ill-health. Since then I have produced a number of other Chronicles from time to time, and we are now putting them (with slight updating) on the website. Others with a story to tell are welcome to contribute. George Ruscoe.


The RUSCOE Chronicle

How often do you get your name spelled correctly first time? Do you suffer from ROSCOE, RUSKO, RUSCOW, or RUSCO? You are not alone.

Where are the Ruscoes today?

There were about 350 families listed in the British Telecom directories in the mid 1990s, and about 1000 Roscoes. The distribution in the main areas is:

Yorkshire 9 59
North and Mid Lancashire 6 47
Warrington & St Helens 7 59
Liverpool & Southport 9 77
Wirral 8 44
Chester & North Wales 14 39
Greater Manchester 45 220
Potteries and South Cheshire 49 13
Shrewsbury & Hereford 44 10
West Midlands 22 14

Other areas: small numbers of Ruscoes with a cluster in London, and more in the Home Counties, southern East Anglia, Tyne & Wear and even three in Cornwall, one in Inverness and one in the Orkneys.

Variations in spelling include the more common:

(my Grandfather in Shropshire was always spoken of as Mr Rusker)


Where did they come from?

County RUSCOE ROSCOE Other Examples
Yorkshire 19 29 6 RUSCALL/ROSCALL
Lancashire 33 3000+ 9 BRUSCOE
Cheshire 58 42 260 BRUSCOE
Shropshire 633 19 0
Staffordshire 57 10 0
London, Mddx, Surrey, 72 62 13 RASCOE
Essex & Kent 3 RESCUE

These figures reflect numbers of entries for Birth/Baptisms, Marriages and Death/Burials found in the Parish Registers or in index entries. They partly reflect the coverage of the indexes (rather short on Cheshire and Wales) and areas searched directly (especially Shropshire), but they reflect the general distribution.

They include an even greater variety of spellings with every choice of first vowel, A, E, I, O, U and even Y; either C, K, CK or CH after the S; and final E, W, WE, U, O; only the R and S are consistent. In Edstaston, Shropshire there was a large family variously spelt RUSCHOE or RUSCHOO; and at Bebbington, on the Wirral, a large early family called BRUSCOE who spread to nearby parishes; after 1666, perhaps with a new parson, they are recorded as BRISCOE, but could it be that some of those who moved dropped the B to become RUSCOE?

It looks as if ‘Roscoe’ arose in Lancashire (there was a place of that name in Leyland Hundred in the 16th Century) and spread to the cities and into Yorkshire.

‘Ruscoe’ on the other hand was most common in Cheshire and Shropshire, and spread to the nearby Industrial areas of Lancashire, the West Midlands and the Potteries. However, there are no Shropshire entries before 1711, except a few single events with rare spellings: RUSCOWE 1605, ROSKER 1649, RUSCALL 1683, ROSCOE 1693 & ROSTOE 1702 suggesting the name was not known locally. Parish records begin however from about 1538, so it looks as if all the Shropshire families moved in from somewhere, perhaps south Cheshire, or over the border in Wales. There was a piece of Flint (detached) between Shropshire and Cheshire on the Welsh Border and some may be found here. However, there were a few RUSCOs in the South East as early as 1591 (Herts), 1595 (Essex) and 1649 (London). There are early examples in Worcester but mostly of the RASCALL variety; RUSKOW/RUSCOE appearing in 1619 but there are only a few. RUSCOMBE appears in Somerset from 1595 and later in Devon, but may be quite unrelated.

Are they all related?

There are already a number of people who are interested in tracing their Ruscoe ancestors, and quite a few of these are descended from the same families in North Shropshire. Others seem to derive from Cheshire families. Contacts have come from Canada and from Australia where there is a large clan of Roscoes descended from one Ruscoe family that emigrated and suffered from misspelling on arrival. The more families we are able to explore, the more detail comes to light. It is perhaps unlikely that links will be found between most of the families since the records begin to get more scarce before 1600, but many are related. There are early entries from the London area, but at least one of these (Daniel of St George’s parish, Holborn, who married Mary Hamilton at St Chads, Shrewsbury in 1776) was also a Burgess of Shrewsbury in 1795, described as a Hairdresser of London. It seems they moved about more in those days than we often suppose.

Are you interested?

Most of us have found some distant cousins in the search. A great deal of information has been gathered by some of us, and this should make it easier for anyone else starting on the search for their roots. For instance there are entries for Ruscoe-Pond in Preston and Surrey. These can probably be traced to the marriage of George W Pond to Mary Ann Ruscoe at Chipping Barnet, Herts on 1st July 1865. Do they know this, or even of each other?

Are you interested in finding out more about your ancestors, and helping the rest of the Ruscoe families? If so please join the Ruscoe Mailing List on Google Groups or email George Ruscoe (, writer of these Chronicles or Tony Ruscoe ( owner of this website.

We have a good deal of information on the computer, so it is easy to search for specific events, and to print out family trees where known already. Also we may be able to put you in touch with others or suggest the best ways to go about searching. There are many local Family History Societies, and local libraries and Record Offices which may be of help to you, and we can assist you to find them.

We would love to hear from you - do it now, before you forget!