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

Origins Available: Borderlands, Scottish

Where did the Scottish Ross family come from? What is the Scottish 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?

In the mountains of Scotland's west coast and on the Hebrides islands, the ancestors of the Ross family were born. Their name comes from the given name Andrew, which is derived from Anrias, a progenitor of both the Ross Clan and the MacKenzies. Anrias was descended from the O'Beolans, an Irish Gaelic tribe of the sixth and seventh centuries who first brought Christianity to Scotland. The name may also be a nickname derived from the Old English word rouse, which means red or red-haired.


Spelling variations are a very common occurrence in records of early Scottish names. They result from the repeated and inaccurate translations that many names went through in the course of various English occupations of Scotland. Ross has been spelled Ros, Roose, Ross, Ruse and others.

First found in as hereditary abbots of the old monastery of Applecross founded by St. Maelrubha, who later created the Earls of Ross. Their territory was Faster Ross and the first documented Chief was Fearchar Mac ant-Saqairt (a Farquhar), the priest's son, who helped King Alexander II against the old Celtic dynasty. Farquhar joined forces with the King to crush a rebellion in the province of Moray in 1215. Even though he was a direct descendent of the Irish King Niall of the Nine Hostages, he was granted a Norman knighthood by King Alexander and, a few years later, the Earldom of Ross (l234). At this time, Tain, an early shrine created by St. Dutlac, was the capital of Ross. Now a ruin, it played an important role in Scotland's religious history during the Middle Ages. In the late 15th and early 16th century King James IV made annual pilgrimages there. However, battered by its enemies, and many of its relics destroyed by changing religious influences, the capital was transferred to the town of Dingwall.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ross research. Another 573 words(41 lines of text) covering the years 1372, 1390, 1400, 1600, 1715, 1745, 1745, 1372, 1656 and 1682 are included under the topic Early Ross History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 177 words(13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ross Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


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.


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 Rosss to arrive on North American shores:

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


  • 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 James Clark Ross (1800-1862), British naval officer and explorer, who explored the Arctic with his uncle Sir John Ross and Sir William Parry
  • William Ross (1911-1988), Scottish Labour politician



  • 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.

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


Ross Clan Badge
Ross Clan Badge

Buy JPG Image

A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...


Septs of the Distinguished Name Ross
Anders, Andree, Andres, Andrew, Andrews, Andro, Androe, Androh, Andros, Andrough, Androw, Androwe, Ategard, Ategarde, Ategart, Ategarte, Ategeard, Ategearde, Ategeart, Ategerd, Ategert, Ategord, Attegard, Attegarde, Attegart, Attegarte, Attegeard, Attegearde, Attegeart, Attegerd, Attegert, Attegord, Cerrison, Charrison, Cockurbat, Coourbat, Corban, Corband, Corbane, Corbant, Corben, Corbend, Corbent, Corbet, Corbets, Corbett, Corbetts, Corbin, Corbind, Corbint and more.


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  1. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  2. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  3. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  4. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  5. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  6. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
  7. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  8. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  9. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  10. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. 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 6 October 2014 at 18:55.

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