Rockefeller Surname Genealogy

The placename of Rockenfield near Neuwied in the Rhineland in Germany is
believed to be the source of the Rockefeller name. Its roots are rocke meaning “rye” and field meaning “open country.”

Rockefeller Resources on

Rockefeller Ancestry

Genealogists have
suggested that the Rockefeller line might have gone back to French
who had fled to Germany in the 16th century. The first in the
German line
was Goddard Rockenfeller,
born in
the Rhineland in 1590. His
grandson Johan Peter Rockefeller set off for America in the early
1700’s. He settled in Arnwell township, New Jersey in 1723.

America. It was a
descendant John
D. Rockefeller
who established the family’s name and
fortune in the 19th century. His beginnings were
impropitious. He was the second of six children whom his father
“Doc” Rockefeller had abandoned in the 1850’s to live with another

Rockefeller started his business in Cleveland Ohio, where his family
had moved in 1853. In 1870, he founded the Standard Oil Company
and aggressively ran it until he officially retired in 1897. As
kerosene and gasoline grew in importance, Rockefeller’s wealth soared
and he became the world’s richest man. He was an American oil
who revolutionized the petroleum industry and later defined the
structure of modern philanthropy.

His son John D. Rockefeller Jr was a noted philanthropist and the
father of five famous Rockefeller brothers, John D, Nelson, Laurence,
Winthrop and David. John D. became a major philanthropist like
his father; Laurance a venture capitalist and conservationist; Nelson
and Winthrop state governors with Nelson going on to become Vice
President under Gerald Ford; and David an internationally renowned

brothers were part of the third generation of the descendants of John D.
The fourth generation
has been even more
varied in its activities, from Michael
, the anthropologist who died at such a young age,
to Abby
Rockefeller, the left-wing environmentalist.
The fifth and sixth generations have followed.
The total number of blood relative
descendants now number about 150.

legacies have included the Rockefeller Foundation, Rockefeller Center
in New York, and Lincoln Center and the Museum
of Modern Art in New York – both founded by Rockefellers.

Rockefeller Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Rockefeller Names

John D. Rockefeller was the American oil magnate who
revolutionized the burgeoning petroleum industry and, in so doing,
became the world’s richest man.
Nelson Rockefeller was the 44th
Vice President of the United States, serving under Gerald Ford.
David Rockefeller was chairman
and chief executive of Chase Manhattan Bank from 1969 to 1981.

Select Rockefellers Today

  • 500 in America (most numerous in New York)




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