Show ContentsRansom History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Ransom was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. It comes from the Anglo-Norman given name Randolph. The name also derives from the Old English word randim, meaning riverbank, and indicates that the original bearer of the name live near such a geographic feature.

Early Origins of the Ransom family

The surname Ransom was first found in Suffolk where the name was derived from a place named Ransham, "though I find no place so called." [1] With regard to the more contemporary meaning of the word ransom, and continuing from this source, the author sites Mr. Ferguson "what curious changes, the whirligig of time brings round. We take our money to the descendant of the old sea-robber to take care of for us - Ramson & Co., bankers, Pal Mall. " [1]

Early History of the Ransom family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ransom research. Another 88 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ransom History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ransom Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Ransom, Ransome, Ranson and others.

Early Notables of the Ransom family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • Ransom of Suffolk

Ransom Ranking

In the United States, the name Ransom is the 1,906th most popular surname with an estimated 17,409 people with that name. [2]

United States Ransom migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Ransom or a variant listed above were:

Ransom Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • James Ransom, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1683 [3]
Ransom Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Elizabeth Ransom, who arrived in Virginia in 1768 with her husband
Ransom Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Sarah Ransom, who settled in New York with her husband and four children in 1823
  • Leander Ransom, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [3]
  • Allan Ransom, aged 1, who immigrated to the United States, in 1893
Ransom Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Caryl Ransom, aged 20, who landed in America, in 1906
  • C. L. Ransom, aged 30, who immigrated to America, in 1907
  • Amy Ransom, aged 4, who settled in America from Deford, England, in 1914
  • Alfred George Ransom, aged 55, who settled in America from Cover, England, in 1915
  • Alfred George Ransom, aged 55, who landed in America from Dover, England, in 1916
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Ransom migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Ransom Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Charles L. Ransom, aged 19, who settled in Montreal, Canada, in 1923

Australia Ransom migration to Australia +

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

Ransom Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • George Ransom, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Caspar" in 1849 [4]
  • James Ransom, aged 27, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Lysander" [5]
  • George Ransom, aged 23, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Hydaspes" [6]

New Zealand Ransom 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:

Ransom Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Ransom (Randson), British school mistress travelling from London aboard the ship "Randolph" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand in September 1850 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Ransom (post 1700) +

  • Gene Ransom III, American Democratic Party politician, Member, Credentials Committee, Democratic National Convention, 2008 [8]
  • Harry Huntt Ransom (1908-1976), American academic, President of the University of Texas in 1960, Chancellor of the University of Texas System from 1961 to 1971
  • Richard K. Ransom (1919-2016), American businessman, founder of Hickory Farms, an American specialty foods company in 1951
  • Major-General Paul Lewis Ransom (1894-1985), American Assistant Commanding General 5th Division in 1945 [9]
  • Ernest Leslie Ransom (1852-1917), English-born engineer, architect
  • Cody Ransom (b. 1976), American Major League Baseball utility infielder
  • John Crowe Ransom (1888-1974), American Rhodes Scholar poet and critic, founder of "Little Magazine"
  • Mike Ransom (b. 1977), American musician
  • Thomas E. G. Ransom (1834-1864), American surveyor, civil engineer
  • Matt Whitaker Ransom (1826-1904), American state politician and Civil War general
  • ... (Another 30 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Titanic
  • Mr. James Ransom (d. 1912), aged 33, English Saloon Steward from Bristol, Avon who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [10]

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  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) The CASPAR 1849. Retrieved from
  5. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LYSANDER 1850. Retrieved
  6. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HYDASPES 1851. Retrieved
  7. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 30) . Retrieved from
  9. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) Paul Ransom. Retrieved from
  10. Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook