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

Origins Available: English, Scottish

Where did the Scottish Ramsey family come from? What is the Scottish Ramsey family crest and coat of arms? When did the Ramsey family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Ramsey family history?

The surname Ramsey comes from the place-name Ramsey, which is derived from the Old English words "hramsa" and "eg," which mean "wild garlic" and "island." Thus, the original bearers of the surname came from an island where wild garlic was grown.


Spelling variations of this family name include: Ramsay, Ramsey and others.

First found in Huntingdon, where the first record of the name was Simund de Ramesie who witnessed the charter by Turstan filius Leuingus of the church of Livingston to the Abbey of Holyrod (c. 1153-1156.) In 1196, Simon's son (or grandson) witnessed a charter to the Church of Coldingham and in the following century many branches of the Clan began to emerge. About 1216, Sir Nessus Ramsay was noted for settling local disputes, and he put his seal on a Charter of King Alexander II of Scotland. William Ramsay was one of the signatories of the Ragman Rolls, when two thousand Earls and Barons were forced to swear fealty to Edward I of England, during the latter's brief conquest of Scotland. But later, in 1320 William Ramsay swore allegiance to King Robert the Bruce of Scotland when he, a Campbell, a Cameron, a MacDuff, a Fergusan and a Murray signed the 'Declaration of Independence' in Arbroath, asserting to the Pope that Scotland would never again be subject to English rule.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ramsey research. Another 951 words(68 lines of text) covering the years 1335, 1618, 1633, 1700, 1672, 1674, 1682, 1624, 1696, 1673, 1684, 1689, 1646, 1686, 1758, 1686, 1743, 1619, 1688, 1659, 1658 and are included under the topic Early Ramsey History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 149 words(11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ramsey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Ramsey family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 167 words(12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Ramsey Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Robert Ramsey, aged 15, arrived in Bermuda in 1635
  • Penelope Ramsey, who arrived in Virginia in 1636
  • Morgan Ramsey, who landed in Maryland in 1653
  • Bar Ramsey, who arrived in Virginia in 1653
  • James Ramsey, who came to Virginia in 1654

Ramsey Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • John Ramsey, who arrived in Virginia in 1705

Ramsey Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Alexander Ramsey, aged 22, landed in New York in 1812
  • Samuel Ramsey, aged 31, landed in New York in 1812
  • George Ramsey, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815
  • William Ramsey, aged 6, arrived in New York, NY in 1818-1819
  • Cuthbert Ramsey, who arrived in New York in 1819


  • Anne Ramsey (1929-1988), American stage, television, and film actress
  • Gordon Ramsey (1930-1993), American television, stage and voice actor
  • Norman Foster Ramsey Jr. (b. 1915), American physicist and co-winner of the 1989 Nobel Prize for Physics
  • Admiral DeWitt Clinton Ramsey (1888-1961), American naval officer, Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, eponym of the USS Ramsey (DEG-2), recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal
  • James Edward Ramsey (1931-2013), American politician and lawyer, Member of North Carolina House of Representatives (19631974), Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives (19731974)
  • Brigadier-General Norman Foster Ramsey (1882-1963), American Commanding Officer Springfield Armory, Illinois (1944-1945)
  • Sir Alfred Ramsey (b. 1922), English soccer player/manager
  • Frank Plumpton Ramsey (1903-1930), British mathematician, philosopher, and economist


The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Ora et labora
Motto Translation: Pray and work.


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  1. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  2. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  4. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  5. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  6. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  7. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  8. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  9. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  10. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Ramsey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Ramsey Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 27 September 2014 at 19:36.

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