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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The ancient Anglo-Saxon surname Rathbone came from the baptismal name Rawbone. Patronymic surnames arose out of the vernacular and religious given name traditions. The vernacular or regional naming tradition is the oldest and most pervasive type of patronymic surname. According to this custom, names were originally composed of vocabulary elements from the local language. Vernacular names that were derived from ancient Germanic personal names have cognates in most European languages.


The surname Rathbone was first found in Lancashire where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Rathbone has been recorded under many different variations, including Rathbone, Rawbone, Rathburn and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rathbone research. Another 195 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1750, 1696 and 1746 are included under the topic Early Rathbone History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Distinguished members of the family include William Rathbone II (1696-1746), founder of Rathbone Brothers, in Liverpool a timber business that grew to be one of the United...

Another 26 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rathbone Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Rathbone or a variant listed above:

Rathbone Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Richard Rathbone, who landed in Massachusetts in 1628

Rathbone Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Jonathon Rathbone settled in Charleston in 1820
  • John W Rathbone, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1850
  • M Rathbone, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • E Rathbone, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851

Rathbone Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Basil Rathbone arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Stately" in 1851
  • Thomas Rathbone, aged 43, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Adamant" in 1874
  • Olivia Rathbone, aged 42, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Adamant" in 1874
  • Sophia Rathbone, aged 10, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Adamant" in 1874
  • James Rathbone, aged 7, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Adamant" in 1874
  • ...

  • Henry Reed Rathbone (1837-1911), United States military officer and diplomat who was present at the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln
  • Monroe Jackson Rathbone V (b. 1984), American actor, best known for his role as Jasper Hale in The Twilight Saga
  • Perry Rathbone (1911-2000), American Museum Director, director of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Alan "Rambo" Rathbone (d. 2016), English professional rugby league footballer who played from 1981 to 1985, member of the Great Britain National Team (1982-1985)
  • William Rathbone IV (1757-1809), English merchant
  • William Rathbone V (1787-1868), English merchant and politician
  • William Rathbone VI (1819-1902), English merchant and philanthropist
  • Julian Christopher Rathbone (1935-2008), English novelist
  • Elfrida Rathbone (1871-1940), English educationist, founder of Rathbone, a British charitable organization
  • Andrew Rathbone (b. 1969), English drummer
  • ...

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: Suaviter et Fortiter
Motto Translation: Mildly and firmly.


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    Other References

    1. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
    2. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
    3. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
    4. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
    5. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
    6. 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).
    7. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
    8. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
    9. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    10. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
    11. ...

    The Rathbone Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Rathbone 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 6 June 2016 at 12:05.

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