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

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

The ancestors of the Ralston family were part of an ancient Scottish tribe called the Picts. They lived in the lands or barony of Ralston, which are near Paisley in the county of Renfrew (now part of the Strathclyde region).

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Prior to the invention of the printing press in the last hundred years, documents were basically unique. Names were written according to sound, and often appeared differently each time they were recorded. Spelling variations of the name Ralston include Ralston, Ralstoun, Rowlston, Rowlstone and others.

First found in Renfrewshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rinn Frił), a historic county of Scotland, today encompassing the Council Areas of Renfrew, East Renfrewshire, and Iverclyde, in the Strathclyde region of southwestern Scotland, at Ralston, (Gaelic: Baile Raghnaill) a small suburban settlement bordering onto the eastern edge of the town of Paisley. It is generally believed the place name Ralston takes its name from the ancient feudal estates of Ralphistoun (Ralph's town), named after the younger son of the Earl of Fife, and dates back to the early 12th century.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ralston research. Another 213 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1448, 1705, 1452, 1447, 1452 and are included under the topic Early Ralston History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 51 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ralston Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Ralston family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 105 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The freedom of the North American colonies was enticing, and many Scots left to make the great crossing. It was a long and hard journey, but its reward was a place where there was more land than people and tolerance was far easier to come by. Many of these people came together to fight for a new nation in the American War of Independence, while others remained loyal to the old order as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of Scots in North America have recovered much of this heritage in the 20th century through Clan societies and other such organizations. A search of immigration and passenger lists revealed many important and early immigrants to North America bearing the name of Ralston:

Ralston Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Gavin Ralston, who landed in Virginia in 1744
  • Marrion Ralston, aged 18, landed in New York, NY in 1774

Ralston Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Andrew Ralston, aged 9, arrived in New Castle, Del in 1802
  • Anne Ralston, aged 34, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803
  • Davd Ralston, aged 15, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803
  • Anne, David, Daniel, James, Jane, John, Josh, Mary, Robert, Sarah, and William Ralston all arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803
  • Jane Ralston, aged 8, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803


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  • Brian Ralston (b. 1974), American composer and musician
  • Aron Ralston (b. 1975), American author
  • Vera Ralston (1921-2003), American actress, born in Czechoslovakia
  • Richard Dennis Ralston (b. 1942), American former professional tennis player who was ranked World Number 3 in 1963
  • Esther Ralston (1902-1994), born Esther Worth, an American silent film movie actress
  • Gilbert Alexander Ralston (1912-1999), American screenwriter, creator of the television series The Wild Wild West
  • Alexander Ralston (1771-1827), American architect who co-designed the city of Indianapolis, Indiana
  • John Steele Ralston (1887-1918), Scottish World War I flying ace, credited with 12 official aerial victories, recipieint of the Military Cross and Distinguished Flying Cross
  • John Ralston (b. 1964), Canadian actor
  • James Layton Ralston PC (1881-1948), Canadian lawyer, soldier and politician, Member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly for Cumberland (1911-1920)


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  • Trails Trod by Holloway and Ralstons by Orella Chadwick.
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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: Fide et marte
Motto Translation: By fidelity and military service.

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  1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  2. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  4. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  5. 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).
  6. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  7. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  9. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  10. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Ralston Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Ralston 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 30 June 2014 at 10:55.

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