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

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

The Rawls surname is a patronymic from a medieval form of the personal name Ralph.

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Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Rawle, Rawles, Rorles, Ralls, Rall and others.

First found in Cornwall where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Kennet and Trevil in St.Juliet. Cornwall was a land set apart, a land of mystique and quaint customs, more strongly related to Brittany and Wales than to England. It was not until the 10th century that they submitted to the Saxon rule of England. Since then, their influence has moved east into Devon, Somerset and Dorset.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rawls research. Another 175 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1400, 1632, 1658, and 1660 are included under the topic Early Rawls History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Rawls Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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An examination into the immigration and passenger lists has discovered a number of people bearing the name Rawls:

Rawls Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • J J Rawls, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851

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  • John Bordley Rawls (1921-2002), American philosopher awarded the 1999 Rolf Schock Prize in Logic and Philosophy
  • Elizabeth Earle "Betsy" Rawls (b. 1928), American LPGA professional golfer
  • Hardy Rawls (b. 1952), American character actor
  • Louis Allen "Lou" Rawls (1933-2006), American three-time Grammy Award winning soul, jazz, and blues singer
  • Wendell Rawls Jr., Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and editor


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Rawls Armorial History With Coat of Arms
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Rawls Armorial History with Frame
Rawls Framed Surname History and Coat of Arms
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  1. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  2. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. 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. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  6. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  7. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  8. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  9. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  10. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  11. ...

The Rawls Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Rawls 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 September 2014 at 18:20.

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