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

Origins Available: English, Scottish

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

The surname Ramsay 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 Ramsay 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 Ramsay History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Ramsay 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:

Ramsay Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Margaret Ramsay, who came to Barbados in 1663

Ramsay Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • John Ramsay, who came to Maryland in 1716
  • Andrew Ramsay, who settled in St. Kitts in 1716
  • George Ramsay, who came to America in 1748
  • John Ramsay, who came to Virginia in 1751
  • Elizabeth Ann Ramsay, who landed in America in 1760-1763

Ramsay Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Andrew Ramsay, who arrived in America in 1800
  • Alexr Ramsay, aged 23, landed in New York, NY in 1804
  • Hugh Ramsay, aged 29, arrived in New York, NY in 1804
  • John Ramsay, aged 27, landed in New York in 1812
  • Cuthbert Ramsay, who landed in New York in 1819


  • Francis Munroe Ramsay (1835-1914), US Navy Officer and Chief of Bureau of Navigation
  • John T. "Jack" Ramsay (1925-2014), nicknamed "Dr. Jack," American basketball coach, inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
  • Francis Dennis Ramsay (1925-2009), Scottish painter
  • Admiral Alexander Robert Maule Ramsay GCVO, KCB, DSO, RN (1881-1972), British Royal Navy officer
  • Allan Ramsay (1713-1784), Scottish portrait painter
  • Sir William Ramsay (1852-1916), Scottish Nobel laureate and chemist
  • Sir William Mitchell Ramsay (1851-1939), Scottish archaeologist
  • Gordon James Ramsay OBE (b. 1966), Scottish chef, restaurateur and television personality, recipient of 15 Michelin stars
  • Edward Pierson Ramsay (1842-1916), Australian zoologist
  • Admiral Sir Bertram Home Ramsay KCB, KBE, MVO (1883-1945), English naval officer during World War II who made contributions in the field of amphibious warfare



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.


Ramsay Clan Badge
Ramsay 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 Ramsay
Ramsay, Ramsey, Rumsey and more.


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  1. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
  2. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  3. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  4. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  5. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. 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.
  7. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  10. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  11. ...

The Ramsay Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Ramsay 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 8 October 2014 at 12:06.

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