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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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


  • 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


  • My Ratliff Family, 1730'a-1990 by Ralph H. Ratliff.
  • Ratliff-Keller by Carl M. Ratliff.

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. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  2. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  3. 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.
  4. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  5. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  6. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  7. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  8. 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).
  9. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  10. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  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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