Show ContentsRavens History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Ravens was brought to England by the Normans when they conquered the country in 1066. It comes from the Old English given name Raven. This name is a variation of the Old English word Hroefn, which indicated the large black bird we now call the raven, and was sometimes used as a nickname for someone with very dark hair.

"Among the spoil taken by the Saxons was the famous banner of the Raven, said to have been woven in one day by the sisters of Inguar and Ubba, and to have possessed the property of appearing before every battle flying like a living bird if the Danes were to be victorious; while in the contrary event it hung down motionless." [1]

Early Origins of the Ravens family

The surname Ravens was first found in Leicestershire where the Domesday Book of 1086 "presents us with a tenant in chief called Raven-a true Scandinavian, doubtless. Rafn still exists in Denmark as a personal name, and is borne as a surname." [2]

Continuing from the aforementioned Domesday Book reference, researchers found the History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham referencing the name as a forename: Raven de Slinghawe, 1155. In the source, Hodgson's Northumberland, researchers found Gospatric filius Raven, 1177, William Raven, 1190 and Raven de Riding, 1233.

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed Henry Raven, Cambridgeshire. [3]

Early History of the Ravens family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ravens research. Another 85 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 108 and 1086 are included under the topic Early Ravens History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ravens Spelling Variations

Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Ravens family name include Raven, Ravens and others.

Early Notables of the Ravens family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Ravens Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Ravens migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Ravens family to immigrate North America:

Ravens Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Henry Ravens, who was aboard the ship "Sea Venture" who wrecked in Bermudas in 1609, he sailed off to find help and died as sea
  • Richard Ravens, who landed in Maryland in 1659-1664 [4]
Ravens Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Henry Ravens, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1853

Contemporary Notables of the name Ravens (post 1700) +

  • Rupert Ravens, American politician, Representative from New Jersey 13th District, 1996 [5]

  1. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  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)
  4. 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)
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 28) . Retrieved from on Facebook