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

Origins Available: Borderlands, Scottish

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

The name Ross is rooted in the ancient Norman culture that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. It was a name for someone who was a person who had the given name Andrew, which is derived from Anrias. The name may also be a nickname derived from the Old English word rouse, which means red or red-haired.

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Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Ros, Roose, Ross, Ruse and others.

First found in Yorkshire, although there seems to be two distinct origins of this surname. This history discusses in detail the English/Scottish borders origin of the name. For this origin, the first reference of the name was Godfrey de Ross, a vassal of the de Morevilles, obtaining from Richard de Moreville the lands of Stewarton in Cuningham. This family of Ros or Ross came from Yorkshire. James de Ros, Reginald de Ross and Peter de Ross appear about the same time also as vassals of Richard de Moreville. These people are also listed as witnesses in his charters. The aforementioned Godfrey de Ross witnessed de Moreville's charter of Gillemoristun with Edulfus filius Utredi c. 1189. A few years later in 1205, Sir Godfrey de Rose, Arthur de Ross and Fergus de Rosse witnessed an agreement between the burgesses of Irvine and Brice of Eglunstone.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ross research. Another 337 words(24 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1363, 1372, 1390, 1372, 1370, 1414, 1394, 1413, 1396, 1403, 1404, 1403, 1413, 1455, 1508 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Ross History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 553 words(40 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ross Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Ross family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 107 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Ross or a variant listed above:

Ross Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Daniel Ross, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1651
  • Alester Ross, who landed in America in 1652

Ross Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Andreas Ross, who landed in New York in 1710
  • Charles Ross, who arrived in South Carolina in 1716
  • Christopher Ross, aged 55, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1738
  • Jean Ross, who landed in New York, NY in 1738
  • Anneal Ross, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1740-1741


Ross Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Casper Ross, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1802
  • Gerret Ross, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1802
  • Anna Ross, aged 50, arrived in New York in 1807
  • John Ross, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1810
  • Eleanor Ross, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1811


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  • Harold Wallace Ross (1892-1951), American editor
  • Sir Katherine Juliet Ross (b. 1940), American film and stage actress
  • Diana Ross (b. 1944), American singer, songwriter, and actress
  • Nellie Tayloe Ross (1876-1977), American politician, Governor of Wyoming
  • Captain (USN) Donald Kirby Ross (1910-1992), American Navy officer who received the first Medal of Honor of World War II
  • Master Sergeant Wilburn Kirby Ross (b. 1922), American Army soldier awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1944
  • Charles Griffith Ross (1885-1950), White House Press Secretary between 1945 and 1950 for Harry S. Truman and won a 1932 Pulitzer Prize for Correspondence
  • Colonel, USAF, RET. Jerry L. Ross (b. 1948), NASA Astronaut with over 1,393 hours in space
  • Sir Ian Clunies Ross (1899-1959), Australian veterinary scientist
  • Sir James Clark Ross (1800-1862), British naval officer and explorer, who explored the Arctic with his uncle Sir John Ross and Sir William Parry

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  • The Baron, The Logger, the Miner, and Me by John H. Toole.
  • Crossroads in Kansas: A Stearns-Ross Genealogy by Phyllis Ross Kostner.
  • History of the Clan Ross by Alexander M. Ross.
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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: Spem successus alit
Motto Translation: Success nourishes hope

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  1. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  2. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  3. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  4. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  5. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  6. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  7. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  10. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  11. ...

The Ross Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Ross 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 26 February 2014 at 10:59.

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