The earliest forms of hereditary surnames
were the patronymic
surnames, which are derived from the father's given name, and metronymic surnames, which are derived from the mother's given name. Scottish patronymic names emerged as early as the mid-9th century. The patronyms were derived from a variety of given names that were of many different origins. The surname Ralfs is derived from the Old Norse given name Randolph,
which itself comes from the Old German words, rat,
Early Origins of the Ralfs family
The surname Ralfs was first found in the town of Nairn
(Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Narann) in northern Scotland
, today part of the Council Area of Highland, where they are thought to have arrived well before the invasion of Britain of Duke William of Normandy
in 1066 A.D.
One of the first records of the family was Ralph (died 1144), Bishop of Orkney, whose name usually appears as Ralph Nowell, a native of York, where he became a priest. "York writers assert that, apparently about 1110, Ralph was elected (by men of the Orkneys) to the bishopric of the islands in the church of St. Peter at York." CITATION[CLOSE]
Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
Early History of the Ralfs family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ralfs research.Another 117 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1205 and 1452 are included under the topic Early Ralfs History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Ralfs Spelling Variations
The frequent translations of surnames from and into Gaelic, accounts for the multitude of spelling variations
found in Scottish surnames. Furthermore, the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent because medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules. The different versions of a surname, such as the inclusion of the patronymic
prefix "Mac", frequently indicated a religious or Clan
affiliation, or even a division of the family. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into Scotland, accelerating accentuating the alterations to various surnames. The name Ralfs has also been spelled Ralph, Rolph, Rolfe and others.
Early Notables of the Ralfs family (pre 1700)
Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ralfs Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Ralfs family to the New World and Oceana
Some of the first North American settlers with Ralfs name or one of its variants: Elizabeth Rolfe who settled in Virginia in 1623; along with James her husband, John and Thomas; Marcus Rolfe settled in New Jersey in 1773; William Rolph settled in Maryland in 1774.
Contemporary Notables of the name Ralfs (post 1700)
- John Ralfs (1807-1890), English botanist, born at Millbrook, near Southampton, second son of Samuel Ralfs, a yeoman of an old family in Hampshire
The Ralfs Motto
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: Cresco crescendeo
Motto Translation: I increase by increasing.
Ralfs Family Crest Products
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print