One of the most common classes of Scottish surnames is the patronymic
surname, which arose out of the vernacular and religious naming traditions. The vernacular or regional naming tradition is the oldest and most pervasive type of patronymic surname. According to this custom, names were originally composed of vocabulary elements from the local
surnames of this type were usually derived from the personal name
of the original bearer's father. The surname Ralphson is derived from the Old Norse given name Randolph,
which itself comes from the Old German words, rat,
Early Origins of the Ralphson family
The surname Ralphson 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 Ralphson family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ralphson research.Another 117 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1205 and 1452 are included under the topic Early Ralphson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Ralphson Spelling Variations
Scottish surnames are distinguished by a multitude of spelling variations
because, over the centuries, the names were frequently translated into and from Gaelic. 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 Ralphson has also been spelled Ralph, Rolph, Rolfe and others.
Early Notables of the Ralphson family (pre 1700)
Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ralphson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Ralphson family to the New World and Oceana
Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Ralphson, or a variant listed above: 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.
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print