Raitt History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Raitt family

The surname Raitt was first found in Nairnshire, where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity. They took their name from the Castle of Rait near Geddes which was in ruins by the 1400s. [1] Today Rait is a small village in Perth and Kinross. The Wraith variant is a Scottish Gaelic word for "ghost" or "spirit."

"The name is of considerable antiquity in Scotland. Among the documents preserved in the Exchequer Office is the Submission and Fealty of Sir Gervays de Rate, given at Elgin, July 27th, 1295. Their principal seat was at Hall Green, in the shire of Kincardine, where the older parts of the castle still show their armorial bearings. The first Rait, according to Nisbett, took refuge in the Mearns during the 14th century, having had to leave his native district of Nairnshire for some capital crime. It is certain that Raits were settled in the Mearns, and held the lands of Owres or Uras at that period; but it was not until the close of the following century that they had any connection with Hall Green. From that time, till the year 1724, they were possessed of it; and from them all the Raits of any note in Angus and the Mearns, whether landholders, ministers, farmers, or merchants, claim to be descended." [2]

Early History of the Raitt family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Raitt research. Another 161 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1292, 1296, 1297, 1724, 1378, 1478, 1400, 1280, 1296, 1296, 1297, 1342, 1350, 1350, 1355 and 1990 are included under the topic Early Raitt History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Raitt Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Rait, Raitt, Raid, Rate, Raith and others.

Early Notables of the Raitt family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Sir Gervase Rait Constable of Invernairn of Castle Rait. His younger brother Sir Andrew de Rait of Rait (born c.1280) was also a noble of note. He was Constable of Nairn Castle in 1296. He appears on the 1296 Ragman Roll giving homage to King Edward I of England. He succeeded to his brother's estates and titles...
Another 65 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Raitt Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Raitt migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Raitt Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Margaret Raitt, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
Raitt Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles Raitt, who settled in Washington Co. Pennsylvania in 1802
  • Charles Raitt, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1802 [3]
  • Alexander Raitt, who arrived in the Windward Islands in 1817

New Zealand Raitt migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Raitt Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Raitt, aged 33, a joiner, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Howrah" in 1874
  • Helen Raitt, aged 31, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Howrah" in 1874
  • William Raitt, aged 9, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Howrah" in 1874
  • Jemima Raitt, aged 5, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Howrah" in 1874
  • Isabella Raitt, aged 3, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Howrah" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Raitt (post 1700) +

  • John Emmet Raitt (1917-2005), American singer and actor, father of Bonnie Raitt
  • Bonnie Lynn Raitt (b. 1949), American ten-time Grammy Award winning blues singer-songwriter
  • Harold R. Raitt, American politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Erie County 2nd District, 1933; Candidate for New York State Senate 48th District, 1936 [4]
  • George P. Raitt, Scottish professional footballer for Huddersfield Town (1911-1912)
  • Noel Raitt (b. 1943), former Australian rules footballer for Essendon (1963-1964)
  • Lisa Raitt (b. 1968), born Lisa Sarah MacCormack, Canadian politician, Member of Parliament, Minister of Natural Resources (2008-2010), Minister of Labour (2010-2013), Minister of Transport (2013-2015), Official Opposition Critic for Finance (2015-)


The Raitt Motto +

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: Spero meliora
Motto Translation: I hope for better things.


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 10) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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