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

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

The name Ratliff arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Ratliff family lived in Nottingham, at Radcliffe. The name of this place translates as red cliff, and indicates that originally the town was distinguished by its proximity to such a landmark on the east side of Irwell.

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Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Radcliffe, Radcliff, Radclyffe, Ratliffe, Ratliff, Ratlife and many more.

First found in Nottingham, where they had settled after the Conquest.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ratliff research. Another 359 words(26 lines of text) covering the years 1165, 1050, 1476, 1547, 1194, 1609, 1606, 1625, 1697, 1655, 1705, 1689, 1716, 1650, 1714, 1593, 1657, 1599, 1657, 1633, 1621, 1629, 1611, 1673, 1646, 1673, 1652 and 1714 are included under the topic Early Ratliff History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 435 words(31 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ratliff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Ratliff family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 45 words(3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Ratliff or a variant listed above were:

Ratliff Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Edwd Ratliff, who landed in Virginia in 1705

Ratliff Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Douglas O. Ratliff, aged 24, who emigrated to the United States, in 1908
  • Joe D. Ratliff, aged 31, who settled in America, in 1908
  • Maud Ratliff, aged 52, who emigrated to the United States, in 1911
  • Anna Ratliff, who landed in America, in 1913
  • John Ratliff, aged 23, who landed in America, in 1920


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  • William Roark "Bill" Ratliff (b. 1936), American politician, 40th Lieutenant Governor of Texas (2000 to 2003)
  • Jeremiah "Jay" Ratliff (b. 1981), American NFL football player for the Dallas Cowboys
  • Theophilus Curtis "Theo" Ratliff (b. 1973), American NBA basketball player
  • Cecil Wayne Ratliff (b. 1946), American programmer who created the database program Vulcan
  • William Ratliff, American political scientist at the Hoover Institution


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  • My Ratliff Family, 1730'a-1990 by Ralph H. Ratliff.
  • Ratliff-Keller by Carl M. Ratliff.
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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: Virtus propter se
Motto Translation: Virtue for its own sake.

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  1. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  2. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  3. 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).
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  5. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  6. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  7. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  9. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  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 Ratliff Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Ratliff 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 27 July 2014 at 11:28.

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