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

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

Today's generation of the Ralston family inherits a name that was first used by the Scottish tribe known as the Picts. The first family to use the name Ralston lived in the lands or barony of Ralston, which are near Paisley in the county of Renfrew (now part of the Strathclyde region).

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Repeated and inaccurate translation of Scottish names from Gaelic to English and back resulted in a wide variety of spelling variations with single names. Ralston has appeared Ralston, Ralstoun, Rowlston, Rowlstone and others.

First found in Renfrewshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rinn Frił), a historic county of Scotland, today encompassing the Council Areas of Renfrew, East Renfrewshire, and Iverclyde, in the Strathclyde region of southwestern Scotland, at Ralston, (Gaelic: Baile Raghnaill) a small suburban settlement bordering onto the eastern edge of the town of Paisley. It is generally believed the place name Ralston takes its name from the ancient feudal estates of Ralphistoun (Ralph's town), named after the younger son of the Earl of Fife, and dates back to the early 12th century.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ralston research. Another 213 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1448, 1705, 1452, 1447, 1452 and are included under the topic Early Ralston History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 51 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ralston Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Ralston family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 105 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many Scottish families suffered enormous hardships and were compelled to leave their country of birth. They traveled to Ireland and Australia, but mostly to the colonies of North America, where many found the freedom and opportunity they sought. It was not without a fight, though, as many were forced to stand up and defend their freedom in the American War of Independence. The ancestors of these Scots abroad have rediscovered their heritage in the last century through the Clan societies and other organizations that have sprung up across North America. Immigration and passenger ship lists show some important early immigrants bearing the name Ralston:

Ralston Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Gavin Ralston, who landed in Virginia in 1744
  • Marrion Ralston, aged 18, landed in New York, NY in 1774

Ralston Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Andrew Ralston, aged 9, arrived in New Castle, Del in 1802
  • Anne Ralston, aged 34, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803
  • Davd Ralston, aged 15, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803
  • Anne, David, Daniel, James, Jane, John, Josh, Mary, Robert, Sarah, and William Ralston all arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803
  • Jane Ralston, aged 8, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803


Ralston Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • McGavin Ralston, who arrived in Victoria, British Columbia in 1862

Ralston Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Walter Ralston arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alma" in 1857
  • Gavin Ralston arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1861

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  • Brian Ralston (b. 1974), American composer and musician
  • Aron Ralston (b. 1975), American author
  • Vera Ralston (1921-2003), American actress, born in Czechoslovakia
  • Richard Dennis Ralston (b. 1942), American former professional tennis player who was ranked World Number 3 in 1963
  • Esther Ralston (1902-1994), born Esther Worth, an American silent film movie actress
  • Gilbert Alexander Ralston (1912-1999), American screenwriter, creator of the television series The Wild Wild West
  • Alexander Ralston (1771-1827), American architect who co-designed the city of Indianapolis, Indiana
  • John Steele Ralston (1887-1918), Scottish World War I flying ace, credited with 12 official aerial victories, recipieint of the Military Cross and Distinguished Flying Cross
  • John Ralston (b. 1964), Canadian actor
  • James Layton Ralston PC (1881-1948), Canadian lawyer, soldier and politician, Member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly for Cumberland (1911-1920)


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  • Trails Trod by Holloway and Ralstons by Orella Chadwick.
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  1. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  2. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  3. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  4. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  5. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  7. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  8. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  9. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 3 August 2014 at 14:11.

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