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

Origins Available: Borderlands, Scottish


The name Ross is rooted in the ancient Norman culture that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. It was a name for someone who was a person who had the given name Andrew, which is derived from Anrias. The name may also be a nickname derived from the Old English word rouse, which means red or red-haired.

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The surname Ross was first found in Yorkshire, although there seems to be two distinct origins of this surname. This history discusses in detail the English/Scottish borders origin of the name. For this origin, the first reference of the name was Godfrey de Ross, a vassal of the de Morevilles, obtaining from Richard de Moreville the lands of Stewarton in Cuningham. This family of Ros or Ross came from Yorkshire. James de Ros, Reginald de Ross and Peter de Ross appear about the same time also as vassals of Richard de Moreville. These people are also listed as witnesses in his charters. The aforementioned Godfrey de Ross witnessed de Moreville's charter of Gillemoristun with Edulfus filius Utredi c. 1189. A few years later in 1205, Sir Godfrey de Rose, Arthur de Ross and Fergus de Rosse witnessed an agreement between the burgesses of Irvine and Brice of Eglunstone. "The manor [at Roos, Yorkshire] was from the reign of Henry I. the seat and property of the noble family of Roos, one of whose barons had the glory of leading the second division of the English army at the battle of Cressy. The site is still visible of the castle of the former barons; and in part of the old moat have been lately found a misericorde dagger and some amber beads. The place confers the original title on the present family of De Ros." [1]

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Ros, Roose, Ross, Ruse and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ross research. Another 337 words (24 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1363, 1372, 1390, 1372, 1370, 1414, 1394, 1413, 1396, 1403, 1404, 1403, 1413, 1455, 1508 and are included under the topic Early Ross History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 553 words (40 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ross Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Ross family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 107 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Ross or a variant listed above:

Ross Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Daniel Ross, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1651
  • Alester Ross, who landed in America in 1652

Ross Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Andreas Ross, who landed in New York in 1710
  • Charles Ross, who arrived in South Carolina in 1716
  • Christopher Ross, aged 55, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1738
  • Jean Ross, who landed in New York, NY in 1738
  • Anneal Ross, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1740-1741


Ross Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Casper Ross, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1802
  • Gerret Ross, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1802
  • Anna Ross, aged 50, arrived in New York in 1807
  • John Ross, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1810
  • Eleanor Ross, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1811


Ross Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Catherine Ross, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1773
  • Christina Ross, who arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1773
  • Donald Ross, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1773
  • Janet Ross, who arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1773
  • Mr. Donald Ross U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1776 he served in the Royal Regiment of New York


Ross Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Alexander Ross, aged 35, arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1815-1816
  • Finlay Ross, aged 50, arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1815-1816
  • George Ross, who arrived in Canada in 1817
  • William Ross, aged 22, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Forth" in 1833
  • William Ross arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Eleanor" in 1834


Ross Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Simon Ross, Scottish convict from Edinburgh, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • James Ross, English convict from Shropshire, who was transported aboard the "Andromeda" on October 16, 1826, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Robert Ross arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Lady Mary Pelham" in 1836
  • Robert Ross arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Tam O'Shanter" in 1836
  • William Ross arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Asia" in 1839


Ross Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • George Ross, aged 21, a blacksmith, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blenheim" in 1840
  • Robert Ross, aged 23, a baker, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arab" in 1841
  • Mary Ross, aged 21, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arab" in 1841
  • James Ross, aged 37, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" in 1841850
  • Catherine Ross, aged 36, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" in 1841850


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  • Richard S. Ross (1924-2015), American cardiologist, Dean of Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine from 1975 to 1990
  • Mr. Thomas Ross (1889-1914), American Third Class Passenger from Detroit, Michigan, United States who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914
  • Colonel, USAF, RET. Jerry L. Ross (b. 1948), NASA Astronaut with over 1,393 hours in space
  • Charles Griffith Ross (1885-1950), White House Press Secretary between 1945 and 1950 for Harry S. Truman and won a 1932 Pulitzer Prize for Correspondence
  • Nellie Tayloe Ross (1876-1977), American politician, Governor of Wyoming
  • Diana Ross (b. 1944), American singer, songwriter, and actress
  • Master Sergeant Wilburn Kirby Ross (b. 1922), American Army soldier awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1944
  • Captain (USN) Donald Kirby Ross (1910-1992), American Navy officer who received the first Medal of Honor of World War II
  • Sir Katherine Juliet Ross (b. 1940), American film and stage actress
  • Harold Wallace Ross (1892-1951), American editor

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  • The Baron, The Logger, the Miner, and Me by John H. Toole.
  • Crossroads in Kansas: A Stearns-Ross Genealogy by Phyllis Ross Kostner.
  • History of the Clan Ross by Alexander M. Ross.
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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: Spem successus alit
Motto Translation: Success nourishes hope

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  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  3. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  4. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  5. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  6. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  7. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  8. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  9. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  10. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Ross Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Ross Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 9 May 2016 at 10:55.

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