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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the Scottish Rae family come from? When did the Rae family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Rae family history?

The saga of the name Rae begins with a Strathclyde-Briton family in the ancient Scottish/English Borderlands. It is a name for a person known as a timid or shy person. Further research revealed that the name is derived from the Old English word ray, that referred to a roe or female deer.


The many spelling variations in Medieval Scottish names result from the fact that scribes in that era spelled words according to sound. Translation too, was an undeveloped science, and many names were altered into complete obscurity. Over the years Rae has been spelled Rae, Rea, Ree, Ray and others.

First found in Dumfriesshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Dhn Phris), a Southern area, bordering on England that today forms part of the Dumfries and Galloway Council Area, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rae research. Another 175 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1350, 1376, 1612, 1627, and 1705 are included under the topic Early Rae History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 41 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rae Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Rae family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 274 words (20 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the uncertainties and discrimination faced in Scotland, many decided to head out for North America. Once they arrived, many Scots fought with relish in the American War of Independence; some went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Many ancestors of these Scots have recovered their lost national heritage in the 20th century through Clan organizations and Scottish historical societies. Among the settlers to North America were:

Rae Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Rae who settled in Nevis in 1663
  • Robert Rae, who arrived in New Jersey in 1685

Rae Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • James Rae, who arrived in Virginia in 1716

Rae Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Frederick Rae, who arrived in America in 1810
  • Mary Rae, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812
  • Richard Rae, aged 27, landed in Virginia in 1812
  • Marion Rae, who landed in New York in 1818
  • George Rae, who landed in New York in 1818

Rae Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Jas Rae, who landed in Canada in 1821

Rae Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Rae, Scottish convict from Aberdeen, who was transported aboard the "America" on April 4, 1829, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • John Rae arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Glenswilly" in 1839
  • George Rae, aged 32, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Medina"
  • Charles Rae, aged 30, a plumber, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Caroline"
  • Janet Rae, aged 21, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1860 aboard the ship "Grand Trianon"

  • John Rae, aged 36, a farm servant, arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" in 1841850

Rae Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Elizabeth Rae, aged 21, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • Thomas Rae, aged 35, a farm labourer, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842
  • William Rae, aged 12, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842
  • Elizabeth Rae, aged 10, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842
  • Margaret Rae, aged 7, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842


  • Tom Rae, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Wyoming, 1956
  • John W. Rae, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State House of Representatives from Washtenaw County 1st District, 1948
  • Jason Rae, American Democrat politician, Member of Democratic National Committee from Wisconsin, 2008; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Wisconsin, 2008
  • J. Thomas Rae, American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Pernambuco, 1943
  • Archibald Rae, American Republican politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Bronx County 6th District, 1925
  • Heather Rae (b. 1966), American film producer, director, and actress
  • Charlotte Rae (b. 1926), American actor
  • John Rae (1845-1915), Scottish journalist and biographer
  • Mr. William Rae (d. 1941), British Stoker 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died during the sinking
  • Brigadier Cecil Alexander Rae (1889-1966), Canadian Deputy Director Medical Services II Canadian Corps, England - Italy




  1. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  2. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  3. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  4. 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.
  5. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  6. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
  7. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  8. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  9. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  10. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  11. ...

This page was last modified on 26 October 2015 at 09:48.

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