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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016


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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The surname Ralston was 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.

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.


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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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  • Kenneth Ralston (b. 1954), American five-time Academy Award winning visual effects specialist including a Special Achievement Oscar for the visual effects in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  • Howard Ralston (1904-1992), American actor who appeared in nine films between 1920 and 1924, younger brother of Esther Ralston
  • Robert Ralston (b. 1938), American pianist and organist, best known for his work on The Lawrence Welk Show from 1963 to 1982
  • Gilbert Alexander Ralston (1912-1999), American screenwriter, creator of the television series The Wild Wild West; he wrote scripts for Star Trek, Gunsmoke, Ben Casey, I Spy, Hawaii Five-O, and The Naked City
  • Aron Ralston (b. 1975), American outdoorsman, engineer and motivational speaker
  • Alexander Ralston (1771-1827), American architect who co-designed the city of Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Esther Ralston (1902-1994), born Esther Worth, an American silent film movie actress
  • Richard Dennis Ralston (b. 1942), American former professional tennis player who was ranked World Number 3 in 1963
  • Brian Ralston (b. 1974), American composer and musician
  • Vera Ralston (1921-2003), American actress, born in Czechoslovakia

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  • Trails Trod by Holloway and Ralstons by Orella Chadwick.
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  11. ...


This page was last modified on 2 January 2016 at 13:10.

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