Ridgway History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Ridgway surname lived among the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. The name comes from when they lived at the ridgeway a path along the back of a hill or ridge. Ridgway is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a ridge.

Early Origins of the Ridgway family

The surname Ridgway was first found in Devon. "The extinct Baronet family, created Lords Londonderry in Ireland, traced their pedigree to 6. Edw. IV., when Stephen Ridgeway was one of the stewards of the city of Exeter. There are two places in Devonshire called Ridgeway, one near Honiton, and the other near Plymouth, but from which of these the family sprang is unknown. " [1] Early rolls revealed records in Cheshire. John del Ruggeway was listed in East Cheshire in 1355 and later Hugh Ridgeway was found in Cheshire in 1577. Katerine Ridgeway was buried at Prestbury Cheshire in 1560 and James Ridgway, of Offerton was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1594. There was one early record of the family in Yorkshire: Johannes de Rygeway, who was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. [2]

Early History of the Ridgway family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ridgway research. Another 95 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1565, 1631, 1583, 1600 and 1606 are included under the topic Early Ridgway History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ridgway Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Ridgway include Ridgway, Ridgeway and others.

Early Notables of the Ridgway family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Thomas Ridgeway, 1st Earl of Londonderry (1565? - 1631), English administrator active in the Ulster Plantation. He was son and heir of Thomas Ridgeway of Tor Mohun, Devon. He was born either at Torwood or at Tor Abbey and was appointed collector of customs at Exmouth in 1583. He was High Sheriff of Devon in...
Another 61 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ridgway Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Ridgway family to Ireland

Some of the Ridgway family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 33 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Ridgway migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Ridgway Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Ridgway was one of the earliest settlers in Boston in 1648
  • James Ridgway was brought to America, in bondage, since he was a convict, in 1661
  • Edward Ridgway, aged 40, who landed in Maryland in 1679 [3]
  • Richard Ridgway, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1679 [3]
  • Edward Ridgway who settled in Maryland,at the age of 40 in 1679
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Ridgway Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Mary Ridgway went to Maryland in 1775 at the age of 29
Ridgway Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Ridgway lived in Toronto, in 1871

Australia Ridgway migration to Australia +

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

Ridgway Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Ridgway, English convict who was convicted in Surrey, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Asiatic" on 5th June 1819, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [4]
  • Nancy Ridgway, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Delhi" in 1839 [5]
  • John Ridgway, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Delhi" in 1839 [5]
  • Mary Ridgway, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Delhi" in 1839 [5]
  • Philip Ridgway, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Cressy" in 1847 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Ridgway 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:

Ridgway Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Ridgway, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 3rd January 1843 [7]
  • Miss Mary A. Ridgway, (b. 1843), aged 20, British domestic servant travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship " Lancashire Witch" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 13th October 1863 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Ridgway (post 1700) +

  • General Matthew Bunker Ridgway (1895-1993), American Army general who held several major commands, most famous for salvaging the United Nations war effort in the Korean War, recipient of many decorations including the Distinguished Service Cross with oak leaf cluster [9]
  • Linda Ridgway (b. 1947), American artist
  • Robert Ridgway (1850-1929), American ornithologist
  • John B. Ridgway, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Bowie, Maryland, 1883-85 [10]
  • John Ridgway, American politician, Mayor of Pontiac, Michigan, 1952 [10]
  • John Ridgway, American politician, Delegate to Kentucky Secession Convention, 1861 [10]
  • James W. Ridgway, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1888, 1892, 1904; Candidate for Borough President of Brooklyn, New York, 1905 [10]
  • James Ridgway, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Richmond County, 1865 [10]
  • Jacob E. Ridgway, American Republican politician, Member of Pennsylvania State Senate, 1863-68 [10]
  • Emma Abbott Ridgway, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Washington, 1944, 1948 [10]
  • ... (Another 9 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. James Ridgway, British Chief Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died in the sinking [11]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Jack Ridgway, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [12]


The Ridgway 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: Mihi gravato Deus
Motto Translation: Let God lay the burden on me.


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  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. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) DELHI 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Delhi.htm
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CRESSY 1847. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1847Cressy.htm
  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. ^ Matthew Ridgway. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Matthew Ridgway. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_B._Ridgway
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 24) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  11. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  12. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html


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