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

Today's generation of the Rains family bears a name that was brought to England by the wave of emigration that was started by the Norman Conquest of 1066. It comes from the short forms of various Germanic personal names containing the element Ragin, meaning counsel. It it thought that the name could also have been derived from Rennes, in Brittany. [1] However, not all of the family joined the Conqueror as seen by the listing of Warenger Raine in Normandy (1180-1195.) [2]


The surname Rains was first found in Essex where Roger Rayne was granted lands at Rayne as companion in arms of William the Conqueror. Other early spellings of the name include De Raines and Raneis. [1] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list the following: Alice Reine in Cambridgeshire; John Reyn and Nicholas Reyn in Lincolnshire; Robert de Rennes in Oxfordshire; and Richard de Rennes. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 lists: Robert Rayne; Johannes Rayne; Richard Rayneson; and William Rayne. [3]

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Rains have been found, including Raines, Raine, Rayne and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rains research. Another 167 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1150 and 1280 are included under the topic Early Rains History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Rains Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


For many English families, the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Rains were among those contributors:

Rains Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • John Rains, who arrived in Virginia in 1704
  • Rodulf Rains, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1727
  • Peter Rains, who landed in North Carolina in 1764

Rains Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Lewis Rains, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1861
  • Lee Rains, aged 31, who settled in America from Liverpool, in 1897

Rains Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Rose Rains, aged 34, who settled in America, in 1904
  • Frances M. Rains, who landed in America, in 1904
  • Katie Rains, who landed in America, in 1907
  • Lous Rains, aged 25, who emigrated to the United States, in 1909
  • James Edmund Rains, aged 24, who emigrated to the United States from Borrowash, England, in 1910

Rains Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • William Rains arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Navarino" in 1837
  • Sarah Rains arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Navarino" in 1837

Rains Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Conrad Rains, aged 26, a labourer, arrived in Otago aboard the ship "John Wickliffe" in 1848
  • Elizabeth Rains, aged 17, a servant, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Douglas" in 1873


  • James Spencer Rains (1817-1880), American brigadier general of the Missouri State Guard during the American Civil War
  • James Edward Rains (1833-1862), American lawyer and general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War
  • Dan Rains (b. 1956), former professional American football player
  • Gabriel James Rains (1803-1881), American career United States Army officer and a brigadier general
  • Traver Rains (b. 1977), American TV personality and celebrity fashion designer and photographer
  • Jack Morris Rains (b. 1937), American politician, 95th Secretary of State of Texas
  • Emory Rains (1800-1878), American lawyer, judge and political leader in the Republic of Texas
  • Albert McKinley Rains (1902-1991), U.S. Representative from Alabama
  • Charles L. Rains, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Galena, Kansas, 1909-12
  • Albert McKinley Rains (1902-1991), American Democrat politician, Member of Alabama State House of Representatives, 1941-44; U.S. Representative from Alabama, 1945-65



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: Judicium parium aut leges terrae
Motto Translation: The judgement of my peers, or the laws of the land.


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  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)

Other References

  1. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  4. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  5. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  6. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  7. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  9. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  10. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Rains Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Rains 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 30 April 2016 at 20:04.

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