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

Origins Available: English, German

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


Spelling variations of this family name include: Rutter, Ruttery, Rutty and others.

First found in Cheshire where they held a family seat from early times. The family name Ritter appeared on the early census rolls taken by the Kings of Britain, shortly after the Norman invasion, to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ritter research. Another 264 words(19 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ritter History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Ritter Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Hans Ritter, who sailed to Philadelphia in 1731
  • Christopher Ritter, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1731
  • Crates Ritter, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1731
  • Hans Ritter, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1731
  • Adam Ritter, aged 27, landed in Pennsylvania in 1738

Ritter Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Johan Conrad Ritter moved to Philadelphia in 1802
  • Fredk Ritter, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1805
  • Daniel Ritter, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1807
  • Emilie Ritter, who landed in North America in 1832-1849
  • Ernst Ritter, who arrived in North America in 1832-1849

Ritter Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Helene Ritter, aged 48, landed in Chile in 1901


  • Melvin Ritter (b. 1923), American concert violinist and Head of the Music Department at Stephens College, Columbia
  • Krysten Alyce Ritter (b. 1981), American actress and former model
  • John J. Ritter, American chemist, eponym of the Ritter reaction
  • Woodward Maurice "Tex" Ritter (1905-1974), American country music singer and movie actor, inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame
  • Joseph Elmer Ritter (1892-1967), American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, Archbishop of St. Louis (1946 to 1967)
  • Jonathan Southworth "John" Ritter (1948-2003), American Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winning actor, comedian, and voice-over artist, best known for his role on the sitcom Three's Company (1977-1984)
  • Josh Ritter (b. 1976), American singer-songwriter, guitarist and author
  • Brigadier-General William Leonard Ritter (1898-1971), American Deputy Commander in Chief US Forces North Africa & Middle East (1944-1946)
  • Gerhard Ritter (b. 1929), German professor of history
  • Jorge Eduardo Ritter (b. 1950), Panamanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Representative to the U.N. (1986)



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: Melitae amor
Motto Translation: Love of Malta.


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  1. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  3. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  4. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  9. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  11. ...

The Ritter Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Ritter 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 26 March 2014 at 11:54.

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