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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Scottish Rae family come from? When did the Rae family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Rae family history?

The saga of the name Rae begins with a Strathclyde-Briton family in the ancient Scottish/English Borderlands. It is a name for a person known as a timid or shy person. Further research revealed that the name is derived from the Old English word ray, that referred to a roe or female deer.

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The many spelling variations in Medieval Scottish names result from the fact that scribes in that era spelled words according to sound. Translation too, was an undeveloped science, and many names were altered into complete obscurity. Over the years Rae has been spelled Rae, Rea, Ree, Ray and others.

First found in Dumfriesshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Dhn Phris), a Southern area, bordering on England that today forms part of the Dumfries and Galloway Council Area, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rae research. Another 175 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1350, 1376, 1612, 1627, and 1705 are included under the topic Early Rae History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 41 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rae Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Rae family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 274 words(20 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the uncertainties and discrimination faced in Scotland, many decided to head out for North America. Once they arrived, many Scots fought with relish in the American War of Independence; some went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Many ancestors of these Scots have recovered their lost national heritage in the 20th century through Clan organizations and Scottish historical societies. Among the settlers to North America were:

Rae Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • John Rae who settled in Nevis in 1663
  • Robert Rae, who arrived in New Jersey in 1685

Rae Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • James Rae, who arrived in Virginia in 1716

Rae Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Frederick Rae, who arrived in America in 1810
  • Mary Rae, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812
  • Richard Rae, aged 27, landed in Virginia in 1812
  • Marion Rae, who landed in New York in 1818
  • George Rae, who landed in New York in 1818


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  • Charlotte Rae (b. 1926), American actor
  • Heather Rae (b. 1966), American film producer, director, and actress
  • John Rae (1845-1915), Scottish journalist and biographer
  • Dr. John Rae (1813-1893), Scottish-born, Canadian Arctic physician, traveler, Hudson's Bay Company trader and explorer
  • Saul Forbes Rae (1914-1999), Canadian diplomat
  • F Iona Rae RA (b. 1963), British painter elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 2002
  • Sir Wallace "Wally" Rae (1914-2006), Australian politician, member of the Queensland Parliament
  • Robert Keith "Bob" Rae (b. 1948), Canadian politician
  • Duncan McFadyen Rae CMG (1888-1964), New Zealand politician of the National Party
  • Brigadier Cecil Alexander Rae (1889-1966), Canadian Deputy Director Medical Services II Canadian Corps, England - Italy


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  1. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
  2. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  4. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  5. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  7. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  8. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  10. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 29 March 2014 at 19:49.

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