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Origins of

the Surname

Variations of

the Surname

Armorial Bearings,

 Symbols and Mottoes

Locations of

the Surname

Internet Resources

Our Family History

 

 

Origins of the Surname

An Introduction

to the Surname

Source/Meaning

of the Surname

History of

the Surname

More About

Surnames

An Introduction to the Surname

The practice of inherited family surnames began in England and France during the late part of the 11th century.   Surnames were first utilized in the Germanic region of central Europe during the second half of the 12th century.  The custom of taking on surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northward during the Middle Ages.  It took about three hundred years for this tradition to apply to most families and become a constant part of one’s identity.        With the passing of generations and the movement of families from place to place many of the original identifying names were altered into some of the versions that we are familiar with today.  Over the centuries, most of our European ancestors accepted their surname as an unchangeable part of their lives.  Thus people rarely changed their surname.  Variations of most surnames were usually the result of an involuntary act such as when a government official wrote a name phonetically or made an error in transcription. 

Map of European Languages

Research into the record of this ROHRBACH family line indicates that the variations, meanings and history of this surname are most likely linked to that area of Europe where German, linguistic traditions are commonly found. 

Sources and Meanings of the Surname

Most modern Germanic and French family names are a means conveying lineage.  For the most part, German surnames were developed from four major sources: (1) Patronymic & Matronymic surnames most common in northern Germany are based on a parent’s first name, such as Niklas Albrecht (Niklas son of Albrecht);  (2) occupational surnames are last names based on the person’s job or trade for example Lukas Fischer (Lukas the Fisherman);  (3) descriptive surnames are based on a unique quality or physical feature of the individual like Karl Braun (Karl with brown hair); (4) geographical surnames are derived from the location of the homestead from which the first bearer and his family lived such as Leon Meer (Leon from by the sea), or derived from the state, region, or   village of the first bearer's origin for example Paul Cullen (Paul from Koeln/Cologne).

Most of the modern English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh family names throughout Great Britain have originated as a result of the following circumstances: patronym or matronym, names based on the name of one's father, mother or ancestor, (Johnson, Wilson). Each is a means of conveying lineage; occupation (i.e., Carpenter, Cooper, Brewer, Mason); habitational (Middleton, Sidney, or Ireland) or topographical (i.e. Hill, Brook, Forrest, Dale); nicknames (i.e., Moody Freeholder, Wise, Armstrong); status (i.e. Freeman, Bond, Knight); and acquired ornamental names that were simply made up.

This German surname of Rohrbach was a locational name 'one who came from Rohr' the place of the reeds, the name of several places in Germany and Austria.  There is also a Rohrbach  in the canton of Bern, Switzerland.

History of the Surname

Most Germanic Surnames from Central Europe have their roots in the Germanic Middle Ages.  The process of forming family names in what is present day Germany began during Middle High German period in the history of the German language from the early 12th Century to the 16th century.   The nobility and wealthy land owners were the first to begin using surnames.  Merchants and townspeople then adopted the custom, as did the rural population.  This process took two or three centuries.  In most of the Germanic States of the Holy Roman Empire, the practice of using surnames was well established by the 1500s.

Surnames of the British Isles as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th century. They were not in use in England or Scotland, before the Norman Conquest of 1066, and were first found in the Domesday Book of 1086. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans who had adopted the custom just prior to this time.    Soon thereafter it became a mark of a generally higher socio-economic status and thus seen as disgraceful for a well-bred man to have only one name.  It was not until the middle of the 14th century that surnames became general practice among all people in the British Isles

The concept of French Surnames come from the Medieval French word 'surnom' translating as "above-or-over name," surnames or descriptive names trace their use back to 11th century France, when it first became necessary to add a second name to distinguish between individuals with the same given name. The custom of using surnames did not become common for several centuries, however.

EARLY HISTORY OF THE SURNAME

     ROHRBACH is a very old Germanic name and is one of the early names recorded in Europe.   Due to its popularity and duration this name, and its variant spellings, have traveled widely in many forms throughout Central Europe.

The Rohrbach family name first began to be used in the German state of Bavaria where the name contributed greatly to the development of an emerging nation and would later playa large role in the tribal and national conflicts of the area.  Bearers of the name branched into many houses, each playing a significant role in the local social and political affairs. Rohrbach first appeared as a place name more than one thousand years
ago; a reference to Rorbeche (now the town of Rohrbach-les-Bitche, France) was made in the year 964.  Rohrbach appeared as a family surname at roughly the same time. For instance in the year 1096 one Johann von Rohrbach was granted a Coat of Arms for his participation in one of the Crusades.  Rohrbach was taken as a surname by persons who either lived near a reedy brook or whose ancestors had come from a village or town named Rohrbach."  Many of these towns and villages are found in the southwestern German states of Baden-Würrtemberg, and the Rhineland-Palatinate.

 

VARIANT SPELLINGS AS A RESULT OF MIGRATION FROM EUROPE TO AMERICA

     This Germanic surname appeared quite early into the former British colonies of North America, especially William Penn’s Province of Pennsylvania.  One reason for this was that after the prince of the Electorate of Hanover, in Germany also became king of England in 1715, as a result German emigration to America was greatly encouraged from that time on to about 1777.  A resulting factor of this great migration is that the Seiler German name tends to be confused with the English versions due to the fact that the name from both countries is often in the same or similar spelling, which is perhaps not surprising as they share pre 7th century "Anglo-Saxon" roots.   Many of these German immigrants, particularly those with easy English equivalents, were encouraged and in some cases required to change to an English spelling.  Many persons with the Rohrbach surname changed to an English spelling having a similar sound when pronounced in English.  Also many German surnames were re-spelled in America because of the close relationship between the English and German languages.     This was the case with many sea captains or their agents who, when making up the ships passenger lists, found it easier to use a more familiar English spelling.   As the general level of education in America increased after the American Civil War many formerly illiterate immigrants and their descendents began to standardize the spelling of their surname. This is the basis for the emergence of the variant spelling of Silar* as found in York County, Pennsylvania.   Also after the start of World War One, Germans in the United States, in great numbers, Anglicized their names in an effort to remove all doubt as to their patriotism. 

Some Notable Persons or Places Having This Surname

Some of the best known persons or places bearing the ROHRBACH name or its close variants are: Heidelberg-Rohrbach, a district of the city of Heidelberg in Germany;  Rohrbach, Switzerland, in the canton of Bern;  Rohrbach, Bavaria, in the district of Pfaffenhofen, Bavaria;  Rohrbach, Birkenfeld, in the district of Birkenfeld, Rhineland-Palatinate;  Rohrbach, Rhein-Hunsrück, in the district of Rhein-Hunsrück, Rhineland-Palatinate;  Rohrbach, Südliche Weinstraße, in the district Südliche Weinstraße, Rhineland-Palatinate;  Rohrbach, Saalfeld-Rudolstadt, in the district of Saalfeld-Rudolstadt, Thuringia;  Rohrbach, Weimarer Land, in the district Weimarer Land, Thuringia; Rohrbach-lès-Bitche, Moselle, France;  Rohrbach in Oberösterreich, capital of Rohrbach (district), in Upper Austria;  Rohrbach an der Gölsen, in Lower Austria;  Rohrbach an der Lafnitz, in Styria, Austria;  Lasauvage, in the commune of Differdange, Luxembourg (Rohrbach was German name, now seldom-used);  the former aircraft company, Rohrbach Metall-Flugzeugbau;  and the German writer Paul Rohrbach (1869 - 1956).

More About Surname Meanings & Origins

GERMAN SURNAMES

Many German names have their roots in the Germanic Middle Ages. The process of forming family names began early in the 12th Century and extended through the 16th century. All social classes and demographic strata aided in the development of names. First Names (Rufnamen) identified specific persons. Over time the first name began to be applied to the bearer's whole family.  At first through verbal usage, family names (Familiennamen) were later fixed through writing.  Until the 17th century, first names played a more important role. The earliest family names derived from the first name of the first bearer (Patronym). Later names derived from the place of dwelling and location of the homestead.  If a person of family migrated from one place to another they were identified by the place they came from.  Of more recent origin are names derived from the vocation of profession of the first bearer. These names comprise the largest group and the most easily recognizable, for they tell what the first bearer did for a living.  Another group are names derived from a physical or other characteristic of the first bearer.  Finally, there are names that tell you the state or region a first bearer and his family came from; the age old division in tribes and regions (Low German, Middle German and Upper German) is often reflected in names.

BRITISH SURNAMES

Although the Domesday Book compiled by William the Conqueror required surnames, the use of them in the British Isles did not become fixed until the time period between 1250 and 1450.  The broad range of ethnic and linguistic roots for British surnames reflects the history of Britain as an oft-invaded land. These roots include, but are not limited to, Old English, Middle English, Old French, Old Norse, Irish, Gaelic, Celtic, Pictish, Welsh, Gaulish, Germanic, Latin, Greek and Hebrew.  Throughout the British Isles, there are basically five types of native surnames. Some surnames were derived from a man's occupation (Carpenter, Taylor, Brewer, Mason), a practice that was commonplace by the end of the 14th century.  Place names reflected a location of residence and were also commonly used (Hill, Brook, Forrest, Dale) as a basis for the surname, for reasons that can be easily understood.  Nicknames that stuck also became surnames.  About one-third of all surnames in the United Kingdom are patronymic in origin, and identified the first bearer of the name by his father (or grandfather in the case of some Irish names). When the coast of England was invaded by William The Conqueror in the year 1066, the Normans brought with them a store of French personal names, which soon, more or less, entirely replaced the traditional more varied Old English personal names, at least among the upper and middle classes. A century of so later, given names of the principal saints of the Christian church began to be used. It is from these two types of given name that the majority of the English patronymic surnames are derived and used to this day.  Acquired ornamental names were simply made up, and had no specific reflection on the first who bore the name. They simply sounded nice, or were made up as a means of identification, generally much later than most surnames were adopted.   Source: http://www.obcgs.com/LASTNAMES.htm

FRENCH SURNAMES

Suffixes & Prefixes - While not in common use as in Italy or Sweden, some French surnames are formed by the addition of various prefixes and suffixes. A variety of French suffixes including -eau, -elet, -elin, -elle, and -elot, mean "little son of" and can be found attached to a given name to form a patronym. Prefixes of French surnames also have specific origins. The prefixes "de," "des," "du," and "le" each translate as "of" and may be found used in patronymic and geographical French surnames. Some French-Norman patronymic surnames will have the prefix "fritz," from the Old French for "son of" (Fitzgerald - son of Gerald). 

Alias Surnames or Dit Names - In some areas of France, a second surname may have been adopted in order to distinguish between different branches of the same family, especially when the families remained in the same town for generations. These alias surnames can often be found preceded by the word "dit." Sometimes an individual even adopted the dit name as the family name, and dropped the original surname. This practice was most common in France among soldiers and sailors.

Germanic Origins of French Names - As so many French surnames are derived from first names, it is important to know that many common French first names have Germanic origins, coming into fashion during German invasions into France. Therefore, having a name with Germanic origins does not necessarily mean that you have German ancestors!

Official Name Changes in France - Beginning in 1474, anyone who wished to change his name was required to get permission from the King. These official name changes can be found indexed in: Jérôme, archiviste. Dictionnaire des changements de noms de 1803 à 1956 (Dictionary of changed names from 1803 to 1956). Paris: Librairie Française, 1974.   Source: French Surname Meanings & Origins

Use this LINK to find the ethnic origin and meaning of last

names. Surname dictionary and

genealogy helps include names of Irish, German, English, French, Italian, and Jewish descent.

Variations of the Surname

Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to unfold and expand often leading to an overwhelming number of variants.  As such one can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames because in early times, spelling in general and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized.  Later on spellings would change with the branching and movement of families. The complexity of researching records is compounded by the fact that in many cases an ancestors surname may have been misspelled.  This is especially true when searching census documents.  Spelling variations of this family name include: Rohrbach, Rohrenbacher, Rohrenbach, Rohrbacher, Rorback, Rorbach, Rorbacker, Rorenback, Rorenbacker, Rohrbech, Rohrbecher, Rohrenbech, Rohrenbecher, Rohrbeck, Rohrbecker, Rohrenbeck and many more, (as noted below). 

Spelling variations of this family name may be ascertained through the utilization of several systems developed over the years.  The most prominently known are Soundex, Metaphone, and the NameX systems.  Of the three we recommend NameX as the most accurate for family historians.

Click on the button to find the variants of this or any other surname by utilizing The Name Thesaurus a ground-breaking technology for finding Surname and Forename variants.

This useful genealogy research tool has identified 385 million variants for 5,929,000 Surnames and 26 million variants for 1,246,000 Forenames, as well as gender identification for more than 220,000 Forenames.

NameX matched 45 spelling variations of the ROHRBACH surname. The top 22 are:

Metaphone is a phonetic algorithm, first published in 1990, for indexing words by their English pronunciation.  It fundamentally improves on the Soundex algorithm by using information about variations and inconsistencies in English spelling and pronunciation to produce a more accurate encoding. Later a new version of the algorithm named Double Metaphone was created to take into account spelling peculiarities of a number of other languages. In 2009 a third version, called Metaphone 3, achieves an accuracy of approximately 99% for English words, non-English words familiar to Americans, and first names and family names commonly found in the U.S.  The Metaphone Code for ROHRBACH is RRBX.  There are 20 other surnames sharing this code.

Surname

Match Score

Surname

Match Score

Rohrbech

98

Rohrbached

92

Rohrbacher

89

Rohrbachin

89

Rohrbauch

89

Rohrabache

89

Rorbach

87

Rorebach

84

Roorbach

84

Rourbach

84

Rahrbach

84

Rhorbach

84

Roarbach

84

Roerbach

84

Rohrboch

84

Rohrbecher

84

Rohrbechin

84

Rohrbagh

84

Rohrbash

84

Rohrback

83

Rohrnbach

83

Rorobach

81

The Soundex System was developed in an effort to assist with identifying spelling variations for a given surname. Soundex is a method of indexing names in the 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 US Census, and can aid genealogists in their research.  The Soundex Code for ROHRBACH is R612.  There are 211 other surnames sharing this Code. 

If The Name Thesaurus doesn’t adequately address the name you are looking for check out the following link:

Top 10 Tips for Finding Alternative Surname Spellings & Variations

Searching for more Information about this and other surnames?

Use LINK button to view our Surname Locator & Resources page.

Locations of the Surname

Locational Distribution of this Surname

Historical Distribution of this Surname

 

Locational Distribution of This Surname

Knowing the geographical areas where the surname you are researching is clustered and distributed is an indispensable tool in deciding where to focus your research.  We believe that the “Public Profiler” website will open up to you a wide range of solutions which implement current research in spatial analysis.  This site provides an array of local spatial information tools useful to the genealogist. 

The information presented herein shows where the ROHRBACH surname is distributed within North America as well as in Europe the location of origin for this surname.      Statistics show that the country were this surname is the most highly clustered is Switzerland with approximately 158.44 persons per million of population.  The density of population in the within the United States is 13.75 persons per million of population.  The top region in the World where this surname is the most highly clustered is Espace Mittelland, Switzerland with 462.22 persons per million, and Heilbronn, Baden-Würrtemberg, Germany is the top city where this surname is found.

North America

Europe

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Click on the LINK to the right to see more information about the World distribution of a surname.  You can

get greater detail for any of the following maps by clicking on the area, i.e state, county that you are interested in.

·        Database of Surnames in the Netherlands

·        Database of Surnames in Belgium

·        Names Distribution in France

·        Map of the surname: Austria

·        Distribution of Surnames in Spain

·        Map of the Surname: Switzerland

·        Distribution of Surnames in Italy

Historical Distribution of this Surname

The main value in historical surname distribution databases and maps is that they enable genealogists to pinpoint the predominant location of a surname. This can quickly narrow down your search for a BDM certificate.  Knowing where to look is half the battle to finding ancestry records; if you can narrow down the search field it can save you a lot of time and trouble.  The core of historical surname distribution is that most people stayed within a fairly close locale.  Concentrations of surnames are clearly visible on Surname Distribution Maps, and name distribution tables (along with an atlas) make it quite likely that the origin of that name is from the area of its highest concentration.

The following “historical locations” for the ROHRBACH surname and some of its close variant spellings have been primarily extracted from either Burke’s The general armory of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, or Rietstap’s Armorial General.   Both books were first published in the 1860’s and revised over the next two decades.  The information therein is relevant to that period as well as earlier times as far back as 1500.   Most of the locations cited by Riestap are on the continent of Europe such as Germany, France, Switzerland, etc.       

NAME

PLACE(S)

NAME

PLACE(S)

Rohrbach

Bern, Switzerland;  Styria, Austria (2);  Saarland, Germany;  Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany (4); 

Baden-Württemberg, Germany (2); Thuringia, Germany (2);  Upper Austria, Austria (3);  

Burgenland, Austria;  Bavaria, Germany (2); 

Rohrbacher

Austria

Rorbach

Bavaria

(2) = the frequency with which this place occurs.

We recommend that you utilize our Tools for Finding Ancestral Locations.  If you have an elementary knowledge of heraldry you may wish to use this practice to trace your founding forefather.  For more information about this approach to seeking out your ancestral locations see our Using Heraldry as a Family History Research Tool.  

·        Great Britain Family Names - 1881 Census

·        England and Wales: 1891 Census

·        Scotland: 1891 Census

·        Distribution of surnames in Ireland in 1890

·        Family Name Distribution in Germany: 1942

·        Nom de famille en France: 1891-1915; 1916-40; 1941-65; 1966-90

·        United States: 1920

Armorial Bearings, Mottoes & Symbols

An Introduction to

 European Heraldry

Gallery of Images

Descriptions of the

Armorial Bearings

Motto(es) Associated

 With This Surname

Heraldry as a Family

History Research Tool

More About

Armorial Bearings

 

An Introduction To European Heraldry

The seeds of heraldic structure in personal identification can be detected in the account in a contemporary chronicle of Henry I of England, on the occasion of his knighting his son-in-law Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou, in 1127. He placed to hang around his neck a shield painted with golden lions. The funerary enamel of Geoffrey (died 1151), dressed in blue and gold and bearing his blue shield emblazoned with gold lions, is the first recorded depiction of a coat of arms.

       By the middle of the 12th century,  coats of arms were being inherited by the children of armigers (persons entitled to use a coat of arms) across Europe. Between 1135 and 1155, seals representing the generalized figure of the owner attest to the general adoption of heraldic devices in England, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy.  By the end of the century, heraldry appears as the sole device on seals.  In England, the practice of using marks of cadency arose to distinguish one son from another: the conventions became standardized in about 1500, and are traditionally supposed to have been devised by John Writhe.

     In the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, heraldry became a highly developed discipline, regulated by professional officers of arms. As its use in jousting became obsolete, coats of arms remained popular for visually identifying a person in other ways – impressed in sealing wax on documents, carved on family tombs, and flown as a banner on country homes. The first work of heraldic jurisprudence, De Insigniis et Armis, was written in the 1350s by Bartolus de Saxoferrato, a professor of law at the University of Padua.

    In the Germanic areas of Central Europe heraldry spread to the German burgher class in the 13th century, and even some peasants used arms in the 14th century.  A German coat of arms is usually referred to by any of the following terms; Wappen, Familienwappen, Blasonierung, Heraldik, or Wappenschablonen.

     In the British Isles the College of Arms, (founded in 1483), is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings.  In Scottish heraldry, the Lord Lyon King of Arms in the Act of 1672 is empowered to grant arms to "vertuous [virtuous] and well deserving persons."

     Although heraldry in France and the lowlands of Belguim and Holland had a considerable history, like England, existing from the eleventh century, such formality has largely died out in these locations. The role of the herald (héraut) in France declined in the seventeenth century.  Many of the terms in international heraldry come from French.

Gallery of Images

 

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Figure 12

Descriptions of the Armorial Bearings

Heraldry symbols such as the colors, lines and shapes found on coats-of-arms are generally referred to as charges.  Although there is some debate over whether or not the charges have any universal symbolism many persons do believe they may represent an idea or skill of the person who originally had the armorial bearings created.  If this assumption has any validity charges may provide clues to early family history of that person.  The associated armorial bearings for this surname and close variant spellings are recorded in Burke’s General Armoire and Rietstap’s Armorial General.  The additional information, presented below, is offered with regard to the armorial bearings depicted above.

Figure 1: Rohrbach in Oberaargau

The arms of Rohrbach  a municipality in the Oberaargau administrative district in the canton of Bern in Switzerland.

These arms are based on the canting arms of the Lords of Grünenberg (Green-mountain, see Melchnau). The green mountain is known since 1594, the star was added later.

Figure 3: Rohrbach (Sankt Ingbert)

Rohrbach is a district of the city of St. Ingbert and is located in the Saar-Palatinate  of the Saarland . 

The upper part represents both the diocese of Speyer and the Pfalz. The cross is taken from the arms of the diocese of Speyer and the colors are taken from the arms of the Pfalz. The village belonged to the Pfalz and later to Bavaria, whereas the church belonged to Speyer. The cross also symbolizes the fact that the town is on a major crossroads.  The lower part shows in the colors of Bavaria, the canting symbols Rohr (reed) and Bach (brook) and the wheel as a symbol of the metal industry in the town.

Figure 5: Rohrbach, Südliche Weinstraße

The arms of the municipality of Rohrbach located in the Südliche Weinstraße district, of the Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. 

These arms incorporate the emanche* as seen in the armorial bearings of the Rohrbachs of Bavaria.

*Emanche is a design element that is confined to French and German heraldry, and appears to be a piece partitioned off from the shield by a dancetty line, but often so much exaggerated as to be like two or three piles; they may be upright or fess-wise; the indentations appear not to be always drawn uniform.

Figure 7: Rohrbach, Saalfeld-Rudolstadt

The arms of the town of Rohrbach found within in the district of Saalfeld-Rudolstadt, in Thuringia, Germany. 

Incorporated into these arms are the reeds and wavy fesse as seen on many other shield pertaining to Rohrbach.

*Wavy (also termed Undy), is a line of division that symbolizes the waves of the sea. It is found in the earliest rolls of arms, being more frequently applied to the fesse or bar.

Figure 9: Rohrbach, Weimarer Land

Arms representing the municipality of Rohrbach in the Weimarer Land district of Thuringia, Germany. These arms have incorporated the reeds and wavy fesse indicating a stream, as seen on many other shield pertaining to Rohrbach.

*Reeds represent the just, who are said to "dwell on the riverbanks of grace." The reed is also one of the symbols of Christ's passion, as He was offered a sponge soaked in vinegar on the end of a reed. Bulrushes symbolize the multitude of faithful who lead a humble life and abide by Christian teaching. This symbol may also be granted to recall a memorable event that occurred near water where bulrushes were abundant.

Figure 11: Rohrbacher of Austria

These armorial bearing belonged to the Counts von Rohrbacher of the Austrian Empire.

The shield had been divided quarterly. Quarters 1 and 4 contain triangles of black and gold.  Quarters two and three are gold each with a black eagle (displayed).  The crest has two helmets one with the design in quarter surrounded by wings, and the other helmet is surmounted by a black eagled displayed.

The eagle was a symbol born by men of action, occupied with high and weighty affairs. It was given to those of lofty spirit, ingenuity, speed in comprehension, and discrimination in matters of ambiguity.

Figure 2: Rohrbach an der Lafnitz

Rohrbach an der Lafnitz is a municipality in Styria, Austria.   It is in the judicial district of Hartberg and the political district of Hartberg-Fürstenfeld.

The arms are canting, depicting the Rohr (reeds) and the Bach (brook). The carpenter's tools stand for the important wood industry.

Figure 4: Rohrbach-Steinberg

Rohrbach-Steinberg is a municipality in the district of Graz-Umgebung in Styria, Austria.  The arms contain allusions to the history of the village.

The trident is taken from the arms of the Steinberger, a family owning land here in the Middle Ages. The two bends composed of roses were taken from another family of squires, the Ehrenfelser, who bore a simple bend. The roses were included to represent the Rosary Chapel Maria von Siege.

Figure 6: Rohrbach am Giesshübel

Rohrbach am Gießhübel is a village that is now incorporated into Eppingen, district of Heilbronn in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. 

The silver shield contains a bishop wearing red robes and a red miter surmounted by a golden nimbus. In his right hand a green palm branch in the left hand a golden crosier. 

The subject of this coat-of-arms recognizes Rohrbach am Gießhübel‘s history as a predominately Catholic community since very early times. 

Figure 8: Rohrbach of Bavaria

Rietstap has attributed this interesting coat-of-arms to the aristocratic family of Rohrbach (Rorbach) of the Kingdom of Bavaria in Germany.  Apparently these arms represent to joining of Rohrbach with Ebron of Wildenberg.

The shield is divided quarterly.  The 1st and 4th quarters, represent Rohrbach and are partitioned by an emanche line into black and silver.  The 2nd and 3rd quarters represent the Ebrons of Wildenberg.  Each is blue and contains two silver coins.  There are two crests. The Rohrbach crest shows a pyramidal hat surmounted by five ostrich feathers, also seen in figure 12.  The other crest signifies Ebron of Wildenberg.  It features peacock feathers between two black proboscides.

Figure 10: Rohrbach in Oberösterreich

Rohrbach in Oberösterreich is a town and capital of the district of Rohrbach in Upper Austria, Austria. The arms were granted on March 12, 1512 by Emperor Maximilian I. The arms are green and show  some black cattail reeds (Rohrkolben) in a stream (Bach).

Figure 12: Rohrbach of Bavaria

These armorial bearings are found as Rorbach on the  list of Bavarian noble families which is based upon the Bavarian aristocratic families named in Siebmachers Wappenbuch of 1605.

The shield is partitioned black and silver by an emanche line.  The crest features a golden pyramidal hat surmounted by three ostrich feathers one black between two silver.

Feathers are a very common charge in heraldry, which is not surprising considering that during a tournament helmets were more frequently ornamented with feathers than with family crests.

Consequently, the plume became the actual, inheritable family crest for many families. Feathers signify willing obedience and serenity of mind.  The feathers most commonly used were ostrich feathers, though on crests they can appear in many shapes and colors.