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Roche coat of arms


Original Arms

Gules (red), with three roaches naiant (horizontal) in pale argent (silver).

In mythology, fish are associated with knowledge of a particular kind. The 'Otherworld' or "Subconscious" is often represented by water - river, lake or sea - where fish can live and represent Special Powers. The Red background is for Blood or Life.
Our Arms have nothing to do with Rock, but are simply Arms which invoke a motif with mythological connotations reflecting the family's historical knowledge of, or association with, the Norse Sagas and other forms of what some consider to be Religion, others Mythology.

There can be no denying our attraction to the metaphysical over the ages - whether Pagan or Christian.

Later "differenced" Versions include:

A Crest

On a rock proper, an osprey (or other bird of prey) rising argent beaked and legged,
holding in its dexter claws a roach argent.

These late additions had nothing to do with the original purpose of identifying knights on the battlefield. Normally associated with the Romantic period, we find a bird of prey on arms for Roach - an osprey. Later, other predatory birds associated with the sea being used.
To be honest, I don't get it. Arms featuring three roaches and, at the crown, one trapped by a predator? If the bird were meant to be England, so dominant at sea, why admit it - even if the Roache in question were Loyalist? Honestly, I can only imagine some later-day Herald of Arms, during the Romantic period or shortly before, having fun at our expense.

Not too much should be made of them because they became prominent due to the requirement to "difference" heritable arms, and during a time when "differencing" was taken to extremes.

Motto: God is My Rock

It has been suggested the motto (also added later) may have been a reference to the Book of Psalms, Chapter 18, Verse 2, "The Lord is my rock, my fortress...."
Certainly, it meant a firm foundation - but for a Roach predator? People inclined to this Christian interpretation might also see in the three fish in relation to the Trinity, without realizing the the rock is displayed as a foundation or place of rest for the osprey, and not the Roach it plans to have for dinner.

Some, with reference to Old French, rendered it "Mon Roche (because God was Male); later, others "corrected" it linguistically to "Ma Roche" (because in French, rock, "la roche" is feminine - "la" not "le"; "ma" not "mon". Intererstingly, "la Rocque" is female, but smaller. They were also more inclined to the Lion that the Fish, in general.

Alternatively, on other arms in our surname, an antique five-pointed crown or "ROCHE" has been placed atop the shield or on the head of a Lion (the arms of another family of the name), within the Peerage, but of different Pedigree.

A five-pointed crown in mythology is associated with regal authority; and the Lion with courage - the symbol of a great Warrior or Chief. But either these motifs can render the same potential interpretation.
Some believe the Lion to be reflective of a Dragon or Tiger - respectively, Teutonic or Lombard (Italian) - which pre-date Charlemagne, Emperor of the Franks - with whom the Lion is often associated.

I have also seen Lions with the tail of a fish in place of hind paws (mermaid-like), no doubt a reflection of long association with the sea for reasons of war, trade and a source of nourishment.

De la Roche, of course, was continental, pre-dates de Roch, and almost always relates to a town or city of origin - and occasionally to a mountain fortress (during the Crusades). Surnames by then has been established, a fortress on a rocky height near a city or town of note might be named Roche if it were owned or held by them.

Fish and water have very definite mythological connotations - metaphysical, in fact - subjects to which many of our surname have been drawn. The red background was likely associated with Life itself. This seems a little esoteric for the Norse, Franks and Germans - for them and the English, the Raven and Lion seem more appropos.

Alternate Arms

Scholars debate how many branches of the "Roche" family exist in Ireland. Estimates have varied from three to five, but whole (especially later) peerages, and, therefore, pedigrees, have been excluded or manipulated through this exercise. Others, still, have been removed from the Peerage.
Given those stripped of Peerages during the Reformation; those still in dispute or unresolved; the mischief worked by "antiquarians"who "fiddled pedigrees when they could, and the fact that a Republic has no legal basis on which to grant Arms, the issue is moot.

Roches, by name, are found elsewhere in the British Isles, in most of western Europe, and, more rarely, further to the East. It will, of course, be in the language used by the culture occupying a given county or region, and in each case is subject to different spellings.

Modern geneticists - as with much of recorded history - have literally revolutionized our cultural history and mythology. They have shown there are three distinct branches (Haplogroups) using the surname Roche (spelling varies) in Ireland and the Diaspora countries of if Norse, Celtic or Mid-Eastern origin.

There would, of course be others - similar German names and arms might be expected for be Haplogroup G, for example.Whole countries and regions have yet to be tested to determine their Haplogroups/types; but, allowing for cultural and biological diversity, plus multiple spellings of any name in every language, there are, no doubt, many of our name around the world.

As with Ireland, however, many Roches would not be even distantly "related" because of the various and sundry ways that surnames came into existence and have been modified over time. Some seem to confuse Rochford with de la Roche and it would seem more credible that Arms with a Lion rampant might well be Norse (of Charlemanic association) that our seemingly more humble (don't you believe it) fish. Any confusion may derive from the fact that the Lion motif has a five pointed crown (a roche) on its head.

Fear not, family historians; it's in the genes.

Thompson submachine gun

The Thompson Submachine Gun was developed by General John T. Thompson who originally envisioned an auto rifle (semi-automatic rifle) to replace the bolt action service rifles then in use. While searching for a way to allow such a weapon to operate safely without the complexity of a recoil or gas operated mechanism, Thompson came across a patent issued to John Bell Blish in 1915 based on adhesion of inclined metal surfaces under pressure.[7] Thompson found a financial backer, Thomas F. Ryan, and started the Auto-Ordnance Corporation in 1916 for the purpose of developing his auto rifle.

The principal designers were Theodore H. Eickhoff, Oscar V. Payne, and George E. Goll. By late 1917, the limits of the Blish Principle were discovered: rather than working as a locked breech, it functioned as a friction-delayed blowback action. It was found that the only cartridge currently in U.S. service suitable for use with the lock was the .45 ACP round. Thompson then envisioned a "one-man, hand-held machine gun" in .45 ACP as a "trench broom" for use in the on-going trench warfare of World War I. Payne designed the gun itself and its stick and drum magazines. The project was then titled "Annihilator I", and by 1918, most of the design issues had been resolved. However, the war ended before prototypes could be shipped to Europe.[8]


THOMPSON Genealogy and Family History

Good links w/ great info.

Clan/Family Histories - Thomson/Thompson/Thomas/McTavish/MacThomas

"We're all Jock Tamson's bairns" suggests not only that we are all God's children and in the same boat, but that there are lots of Thomsons around. And indeed "son of Thom" has only recently dropped from 3rd to 4th place in the league of most common surnames in Scotland at the General Register Office in 1995. Thomson (without the 'p') is the most frequent spelling in Scotland; Thompson is found more in the North of England and Thomas in Wales.

The name is found most in central Scotland - there was a John Thomson in Ayrshire in 1318 who led part of Edward Bruce's invading army in Ireland on behalf of Robert the Bruce. There are Gaelic equivalents in MacTavish (son of Tammas) and McCombie (son of Tommy) and MacLehose is from the Gaelic 'mac gille Thoimis" or son of St Thomas.

Clan MacThomas was descended from Clan Chattan Mackintoshes and was based initially in Glenshee. The MacThomases supported King Charles I and the Marquis of Montrose but after the defeat of Montrose at the Battle of Philiphaugh, the chief withdrew his men and extended his influence into Glen Prosen and Strathardle. The chief approved of the stable government brought about by Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth. Consequently, after the Restoration of King Charles II the MacThomas fortunes declined and the clan drifted apart - some clansmen moving to the Lowlands and changing their name to Thomson or Thomas.

James Thomson (1700-1748) was a poet who wrote "The Seasons" which is regarded as a classic of English literature but is best remembered now for writing "Rule Britannia". Alexander "Greek" Thomson was a 19th century architect of note who is becoming more recognised at the end of the 20th. Robert William Thomson invented the pneumatic tyre in December 1845 and scientist and inventor William Thomson, though born in Belfast, became associated with Glasgow University and became Lord Kelvin. He gave his name to the measurement of temperature "Kelvin".

Clan McThomas, which is the only variant of the name recognised by the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, has a motto "Deo iuvante invidiam superabo" - I will overcome envy with God's help".

There are Clan MacTavish/Thompson web sites here and here.

1 comment(s), latest 11 years, 3 months ago

The Granite Industry in Fitzwilliam N.H. 1845

The Granite industry was the most important business in Fitzwilliam for more than fifty years, and for a long time it was one of the three principal granite centers of the state. Before any quarries were opened, it had been found that large sheets of stone, which required no dressing except to free them at the sides and ends, could be taken from the surface of the hill south of Fitzwilliam Depot. They were freely utilized. The porch floor and the steps of the Meeting House of 1817, now the Town Hall, are made of these stones; and a few of the old houses have them at their entrances.

The first quarries were opened in 1845 by Melvin Wilson, according to the town history. John Milne, of Aberdeen, Scotland, is said to have been the first stonecutter to come to town. The firms of the early days include the names of Angier, Dutton, Damon, and Forbush. In 1848 the opening of the Cheshire Railroad, providing adequate transportation, gave a great impetus to the industry. Quarries were opened in the Bull Run neighborhood off the Richmond Road, by Collins Pond, east of Fitzwilliam Depot and along the Royalston Road, in fact, almost anywhere anyone wanted to dig, they came before long upon the granite which underlies the town. The largest quarries were on the hill west of the Laurel Lake Road, first owned by Daniel Reed and in 1892 by George P. Webb of Worcester, Mass. A spur of the railroad extended to these quarries, and at the peak of their activity, from 1915 to 1918, about 400 men were employed. A partial list of manufacturers during the years 1900-1923 would include J.C. Baldwin & Son, W.E. Blodgett, Decatur & Son, Emerson Troy Granite Co., Fasote Bros., E.M. Thompson, Perry Granite Co., Rozazza & Norza, Victoria White Granite Co., A.F. Wilson and Edward Yon.

Fitzwilliam quarry workers belonged to the Granite Cutters International Association, and their agreement with the quarry owners for the years 1900-1908 presents interesting figures:

8 hours a day's work, six days a week.
Minimum wage for granite cutters, $2.00 a day.
Minimum wage for hour, $.35.
One hour allowed for dinner.
Any cutter required to go from the shed to the quarries to cut stone shall be paid $.25 a day extra.
Double pay on holidays, and no cutter allowed to work on Labor Day.
The Fitzwilliam granite was of very fine grain and even color, and is said to have had the lowest percentage of iron of any in New England, which made it free from any ultimate discoloration. It had the further advantage that the ledges where the most highly-valued stone was found were so favorably placed that it could be removed at comparatively little expense. Among the buildings in which it was used were the State Capitol, Albany, N.Y., the Public Library at Natick, Mass., the Union Depot and Court House in Worcester, Mass., the Union Station, Washington, D.C., Marshall Field's, Chicago, Ill., and the City Hall and Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Newark, NJ.

The coming of cement construction spelled the end of the granite era in Fitzwilliam.*

The Wood Industry in Fitzwilliam N.H. around 1850

Wood was important here before the days that the King's men hammered the Royal Seal onto the trunks of the stately pines that were chosen for the masts of the Royal Navy. Some seventy and eighty foot logs had been rolled into place to make corduroy roads.

Along the streams may be found ruined foundations of many grist and saw mills. The ruins of the earliest mill are no longer visible from the Templeton Road. Pond areas were enlarged by dams for water power. The preparation of lumber and the manufacture of wooden ware products (picture frames, buckets, wheels, carriages, lumber wagons, sleighs, hat racks, wall brackets, rakes, fan handles, nest eggs, bowls, spoons, chairs and furniture stock) has long been associated with names like Bowker, Howe, Stone, Angier, Damon and Grant. Some wood, unusable for products, was at times stacked, covered with dirt and fired to make charcoal.

The hurricane of 1938 destroyed much of the growing merchantable lumber. The woodlands were wrecked so badly that owners could not find some landmarks. An irreparable loss was the destruction of the grove of first growth pines owned by the Damon estate. They were magnificent trees 125 feet in height and 90 feet from the ground to the first limbs.*

New Hampshire Genealogy and History

RESEARCH - New Hampshire Genealogy and History
Researching Genealogy (Your Familiy Tree) in New Hampshire


Fitzwilliam was a small town in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War, its population was only 250 in 1774, but those 250 residents were committed to supporting the rebel cause. When news of the battles at Lexington and Concord reached Fitzwilliam in April 1775, the town was ready to mobilize its militia and join the fight. In May 1775, the New Hampshire Provincial Congress voted to raise a 2,000 man army and help their fellow patriots in the war for freedom.The 2,000 man army was split in to three regiments with the 2nd Regiment being commanded by Fitzwilliam's own Colonel James Reed.

James Reed was the second person, and the only one of the original proprietors to settle in Monadnock No. 4. In 1755, during the French and Indian War, he was an officer in the army and received the commission of Lieutenant Colonel. Then, at fifty, he served in the army during the Revolutionary war. After he heard about the battles at Lexington and Concord, Reed raised a Company of volunteers and marched them to Medford. He continued to enlist more volunteers, many from Cheshire County, and soon had four companies under his command. The New Hampshire Provisional Assembly even appointed Reed Colonel of a regiment in 1775. He became known as General Reed later in the War when he was appointed a brigadier- general. However, during the war he was sick much of the time and end up almost blind, forcing him to retire from active duty before the end of the Revolution. He later died in Fitchburg.

TAPS Visits Amos J. Blake Museum in Fitzwilliam, NH

This article was written in response to a recent newspaper article (published in the Keene Sentinel, Keene, NH on Saturday, July 10, 2009) pertaining to The Atlantic Paranormal Society's (TAPS) recent investigation of the Amos J. Blake House Museum in Fitzwilliam, NH, the museum of the Fitzwilliam Historical Society, and their intention to use the footage on their television show Ghost Hunters.

As a paranormal investigator, I have participated in three investigations at the Amos J. Blake House Museum. The group I am a member of was invited to investigate the location by the museum's curator. I am aware of approximately six different paranormal groups that have investigated the site.

Though there are some indications of paranormal activity at the museum, all I have personally experienced is one cold spot, an unexplained voice, as well as capturing photographs of some strange mist. This is certainly not enough evidence to declare the place haunted by the standards of most paranormal investigators, however, we are all aware of the rarity of such phenomena and the difficulty of catching such phenomena on tape.

More recently, reports have been made of multiple apparitions, objects moving, and intelligent spirits haunting the location. These phenomena--as well as other strange events--have been reported by several groups, though most of these claims were made by Conscious Spirits Paranormal Group (CSPG), a team founded by the museums curator.

These events were documented on CSPG's Web site as recently as Thursday July 8th. Upon review of the groups site on Monday July 13, all references to the Amos J. Blake House investigations had been removed, though there is documentation of the groups investigation of the location at the Web site of the Keene State Equinox, a local college newspaper.

There are several links-- accessible via Google searches--to CSPG's Web site that portray their involvement with this location.

It is unclear to me why this information was deleted. I certainly enjoyed following the reported activity and even though our group considered the purported "evidence" to be highly exaggerated--being more attentive to debunking then many groups--I found it very entertaining.

At this point in time, two of the few sites where I can find any significant documentation of paranormal activity at the museum is on Dark Nights Paranormal's as well as ECTO Paranormal's, two teams of competent and tech-savvy investigators based in the general area. There is at least one other Web site where documentation of an investigation of the museum is posted, however, the location is not being disclosed--though it was previously identified as such.

Apparently,there was a minor controversy involved with "Ghost Hunters," filming at the location, as it was reported that the museum's Board of Directors had no prior knowledge of the TAPS investigation of the museum. The newspaper article published several comments from a member of the board pertaining to this fact, and--as of the time this article was written--there is still appears to be some question as to who signed the release form that allowed the filming in the first place. The paper also reported that the curator of the museum--who participated in the filming--had no comment.

I find it interesting that the board had no prior knowledge of a film crew being invited to the location. It is also of interest to note that the curator of the museum is a former member of the group I am involved with. This individual left our group abruptly in February or March--and subsequently formed her own group--shortly after informing me that TAPS had contacted her and had expressed interest in setting up on the location. It was also at this time that the reports of purported paranormal activity at the location increased significantly.

It is clear to me that TAPS was interested in this location, and--at least according to the curator--that there was some contact going on during this time between them and the museum..

In an open query to the Board of Directors of the Fitzwilliam Historical Society, I would ask the them to consider the publicity that may be garnered from the location's appearance on a national television show. In my experience, considering locations like the museum, publicity is a good thing.

Many similar sites have capitalized on such attention for monetary gain and recognition. The board will certainly want to consider how they are going to handle requests from individuals and groups wanting to complete paranormal investigations of the location--if you choose to allow them at all--as well as other recognition and media attention that arises from such an event.

Some places charge special fees for unique "haunted tours," and others even arrange all-night ghost hunts. The U.S.S. Salem in Boston, MA, The Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA, and Waverly Hills Sanitorium in Louisville, KY are examples of locations that are earning revenue and recognition secondary to their haunted status, and are places where one can participate in a paranormal investigation, above and beyond taking a simple tour.

In general, I would say that most ghost hunters are a respectful bunch, and the good ones appreciate the historical significance of such locations, as well as the potential for any paranormal activity.

The Amos J. Blake House Museum is a wonderful example of a New England historical society museum with an interesting and varied collection of artifacts, and--in my mind--this fact FAR outstrips the possibility of any paranormal activity occurring there.

I have participated many paranormal investigations--and have experienced some very strange things--however, on a scale of 1 to 10 related to possible paranormal activity, I would rate the museum a 2 or 3. Considering its wonderful collection and the history contained within its walls, I would rate it a 10.

Of course TAPS, with their top-of-the-line equipment and considerable resources may certainly be more successful then an amateur ghost hunter such as myself when it comes to finding evidence of possible paranormal activity.

It is obvious to me that the board of the Fitzwilliam Historical Society needs to seriously consider if this is a direction they would like to move in, and how the museum got to this point in the first place--a national television show filming in the location, apparently without it's knowledge and consent.

At this time, it appears that consent has been given, albeit in a method in which the board was not aware, and that the investigation will air on national television. The board should consider how they can take advantage of this. My guess is that the situation be viewed as a positive one, an opportunity to increase attention for the museum, possibly resulting in revenue that could be used to help maintain this historic location. It may also have the added benefit of drawing some tourism to the town of Fitzwilliam, and the Monadnock area in general.