The Rubottom family in America descended from its forbearers in England and Wales. It was not until the Middle Ages that surnames were given to distinguish between individuals bearing the same personal or Christian name.
The Welsh lived in classes before the fifteenth century. They were very proud of their ancestry and their family genealogy was important to them. While the Welshman had only one given name, they proved their ancestry by adding their father's name to their own name with the prefix AP. William AP John meant William the son of John. Records have been found showing as many as 35 names, such as William AP John AP George AP Thomas AP Simon, etc.
In the later Middle Ages, societal growth and the need for improved documentation led to the addition of a surname for families. A surname distinguished the individual by describing his trade, his place of residence, or some personal or physical characteristic.
The surname Rubottom is of local origin, describing a particular feature near where the original bearer lived or owned land. In A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames (1967) by Charles Wareing Bardsley, the surname Rubottom is a variant spelling of the name Rowbottom, which meant "at the roe-bottom." The name described residence in or near a depressed ground frequented by deer. Mr. Bardsley was unable to locate the exact spot, but stated that the name arose in the same district as the names Shufflebotham, Winterbotham, and Ramsbotham, somewhere in the southeast corner of Lancashire. 1
Listings of persons with the surname Rowbottom were provided by Mr. Bardsley. 2 They include:
1546. Married--Robert Rowe and Dorythye Robotom. St, Michael, Cornhill, p. 5.
1592. Oliver Robotham, co. Bucks: Reg. Univ. Oxf. vol ii, pt ii, p. 102.
1613.Thomas Rowbotham, of Winwick, co. Lanc.: Wills at Chester, i. 165.
1626. William Rowbotham and Sarah Owen: Marriage Lic. (London), ii, 169.
As mentioned earlier, Rubottom is a common variant spelling of Rowbottom. Many other similar variations exist and are found to occur among even immediate family members. In some cases, spelling variations are found for the same person from one document to another. For example, names were often spelled differently from one U. S. Census to the next.
Common variants of the original Rowbottom include: Rowbotham, Robotham, Robottom, Rubottom, Ruebottom, Rubotham, Rubothan, Reubottom, Rhubottom, Rhuebottom, Rheubottom, Rhubothom, etc. Little attention should be paid to these spelling variations when examining original source documents. It should be remembered that many persons, before the mid-nineteenth century, were unable to read or write. Therefore, the name spelling was left to the census-taker or court clerk entering the information.
Today the most commonly used form of the surname in America appears to be Rubottom. The author has chosen to use this form of the surname consistently in this book. Exceptions occur when exact quotations are provided that used alternate forms.