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

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

The age-old Hebrides islands and the west coast of Scotland are the ancestral home of the Rankin family. Their name comes from the personal name Randolph, with the addition of the diminutive suffix -kin.

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Medieval spelling was at best an intuitive process, and translation between Gaelic and English was no more effective. These factors caused an enormous number of spelling variations in Dalriadan names. In fact, it was not uncommon to see a father and son who spelled their name differently. Over the years, Rankin has been spelled Rankin, Ranken, Ranking, Rankene, Rankine and others.

First found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire, 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 Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rankin research. Another 261 words(19 lines of text) covering the year 1400 is included under the topic Early Rankin History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 33 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rankin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Rankin family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 197 words(14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Scottish settlers arrived in many of the communities that became the backbones of the United States and Canada. Many stayed, but some headed west for the endless open country of the prairies. In the American War of Independence, many Scots who remained loyal to England re-settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Scots across North America were able to recover much of their lost heritage in the 20th century as Clan societies and highland games sprang up across North America. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Rankins to arrive on North American shores:

Rankin Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Lawlin Rankin, who settled in Virginia in 1650
  • Andrew Rankin settled in New England in 1651

Rankin Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Esther Rankin, who landed in New England in 1730
  • Alexander Rankin settled in Boston in 1764
  • Daniel Rankin, aged 18, landed in New York, NY in 1774
  • Hugh Rankin, aged 22, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1774
  • Andrew Rankin, aged 18, landed in Pennsylvania in 1776

Rankin Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Albert Rankin, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1803-1827
  • Arthur Rankin, who arrived in America in 1811
  • Alexander Rankin, aged 38, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Elizabeth Rankin, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1812
  • James Rankin, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1812


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  • Jeannette Rankin (1880-1973), American feminist and first female member of Congress
  • John Elliott Rankin (1882-1960), American politician, U.S. congressman from the State of Mississippi
  • James Lee Rankin (1907-1996), American lawyer, who was U.S. Solicitor General (1956-1961)
  • Nell Rankin (1924-2005), American operatic mezzo-soprano
  • Brigadier-General Fred Wharton Rankin (1886-1954), American Chief Consultant, Office of the Surgeon-General (1942-1945)
  • Ian Rankin (b. 1960), Scottish crime writer
  • Dame Annabelle Jane Mary Rankin (1908-1986), Australian politician, the second woman member of the Australian Senate
  • Carol Jean "Cookie" Rankin, Canadian singer
  • Heather Rankin, Canadian singer
  • Jimmy Rankin (b. 1964), Canadian musician

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  • Selections from a Van Rensselaer Family Library: 1536-1799 by Joyce Jackson.
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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: Fortiter et recte
Motto Translation: Boldly and rightly.

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  1. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  2. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  3. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  4. 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).
  5. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  6. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  7. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  9. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  10. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  11. ...

The Rankin Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Rankin 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 16 July 2014 at 22:01.

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