Ramsey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Ramsey comes from the place-name Ramsey, which is derived from the Old English words "hramsa" and "eg," which mean "wild garlic" and "island." Thus, the original bearers of the surname came from an island where wild garlic was grown.

Early Origins of the Ramsey family

The surname Ramsey was first found in Huntingdon, where the first record of the name was Simund de Ramesie who witnessed the charter by Turstan filius Leuingus of the church of Livingston to the Abbey of Holyrod (c. 1153-1156.) [1]

In 1196, Simon's son (or grandson) witnessed a charter to the Church of Coldingham and in the following century many branches of the Clan began to emerge. About 1216, Sir Nessus Ramsay was noted for settling local disputes, and he put his seal on a Charter of King Alexander II of Scotland. William Ramsay was one of the signatories of the Ragman Rolls, when two thousand Earls and Barons were forced to swear fealty to Edward I of England, during the latter's brief conquest of Scotland.

But later, in 1320 William Ramsay swore allegiance to King Robert the Bruce of Scotland when he, a Campbell, a Cameron, a MacDuff, a Fergusan and a Murray signed the 'Declaration of Independence' in Arbroath, asserting to the Pope that Scotland would never again be subject to English rule.

Sir Alexander Ramsay (died 1342), of Dalhousie, Scottish patriot, was descended from the main line of the Scottish Ramsays, the earliest of whom was Simundus de Ramsay, a native of Huntingdon in England, who received from David I of Scotland a grant of lands in Midlothian. "Sir Alexander is supposed to have been the son of Sir William de Ramsay, who, for his lands of Dalwolsie or Dalhousie, Midlothian, and of Foulden, Berwickshire, swore fealty to Edward I in 1296." [2]

Early History of the Ramsey family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ramsey research. Another 477 words (34 lines of text) covering the years 1335, 1618, 1633, 1700, 1574, 1695, 1620, 1688, 1672, 1674, 1682, 1624, 1696, 1673, 1684, 1689, 1646, 1686, 1758, 1686, 1743, 1619, 1688, 1659, 1658 and are included under the topic Early Ramsey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ramsey Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Ramsay, Ramsey and others.

Early Notables of the Ramsey family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was Andrew Ramsay (1574-1695), Scottish divine and Latin poet, son of David Ramsay of Balmain, Kincardineshire; Sir Andrew Ramsay (c. 1620-1688) Scottish Baronet and Lord Provost of Edinburgh, of Abbotshall and Waughton, was eldest son of Andrew Ramsay; William Ramsay, 1st Earl of Dalhousie (d. 1672); George Ramsay, 2nd Earl of Dalhousie (d...
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ramsey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Ramsey family to Ireland

Some of the Ramsey family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 90 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Ramsey migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Ramsey Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robert Ramsey, aged 15, who arrived in Bermuda in 1635 [3]
  • Penelope Ramsey, who arrived in Virginia in 1636 [3]
  • Morgan Ramsey, who landed in Maryland in 1653 [3]
  • Bar Ramsey, who arrived in Virginia in 1653 [3]
  • James Ramsey, who settled in Virginia in 1654
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Ramsey Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Ramsey, who arrived in Virginia in 1705 [3]
Ramsey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Ramsey, aged 22, who landed in New York in 1812 [3]
  • Samuel Ramsey, aged 31, who landed in New York in 1812 [3]
  • George Ramsey, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815 [3]
  • William Ramsey, aged 6, who arrived in New York, NY in 1818-1819 [3]
  • Cuthbert Ramsey, who arrived in New York in 1819 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Ramsey migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Ramsey Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Elenor Ramsey, aged 26, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1833
  • Robert Ramsey, aged 23, a farmer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834
  • Jane Ramsey, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834
  • William Ramsey, aged 2, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834
  • Isabella Ramsey, aged 6 months, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834

Australia Ramsey migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Ramsey Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Harriet Ramsey, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Aden" in 1849 [4]
  • George Frederick Ramsey, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Elizabeth" in 1849 [5]
  • James Ramsey, aged 25, a miner, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Medina" [6]
  • Eliza Ramsey, aged 19, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Sea Park"
  • Elizabeth Ramsey, aged 29, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Bee"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Ramsey 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:

Ramsey Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Dr. Ramsey, Scottish settler travelling from Greenock aboard the ship "Philip Laing" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 15th April 1848 [7]
  • John Ramsey, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1858
  • Miss Janet Ramsey, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "New Great Britain" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 10th August 1863 [8]
  • James Ramsey, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Excelsior" in 1869
  • William Ramsey a ploughman, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Celestial Queen" in 1872
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Ramsey (post 1700) +

  • Claude Thomas Ramsey (1943-2018), American farmer and politician from Chattanooga, Tennessee; he served in the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1973 to 1977
  • David Ramsey, American Screen Actors Guild Award nominated actor, known for his roles in Arrow (2012), Pay It Forward (2000) and Con Air (1997)
  • Brigadier-General Norman Foster Ramsey (1882-1963), American Commanding Officer Springfield Armory, Illinois (1944-1945) [9]
  • James Edward Ramsey (1931-2013), American politician and lawyer, Member of North Carolina House of Representatives (1963–1974), Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives (1973–1974)
  • Admiral DeWitt Clinton Ramsey (1888-1961), American naval officer, Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, eponym of the USS Ramsey (DEG-2), recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal
  • Norman Foster Ramsey Jr. (b. 1915), American physicist and co-winner of the 1989 Nobel Prize for Physics
  • Anne Ramsey (1929-1988), American stage, television, and film actress
  • Gordon Ramsey (1930-1993), American television, stage and voice actor
  • William Newman "Bill" Ramsey (1943-2020), English professional rugby league footballer
  • Elizabeth Ramsey (1931-2015), Filipina stand-up comedienne, singer and actress
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Cornwall
  • William Gordon Ramsey (d. 1942), British Able Seaman aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [10]


The Ramsey 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: Ora et labora
Motto Translation: Pray and work.


  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. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  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. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Aden from London via Plymouth Adealide Arriving September 12th 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849AdenRegister.htm
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ELIZABETH 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Elizabeth.htm
  6. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MEDINA 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/medina1852.shtml
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) Norman Ramsey. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Ramsey/Norman_Foster/USA.html
  10. ^ Force Z Survivors Crew List HMS Cornwall (Retrieved 2018, February 13th) - Retrieved from https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listcornwallcrew.html#A


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