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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Sir John Ross

Rear-Admiral Sir John Ross (1777-1856), Arctic explorer

1) (borne by Sir John Ross, C.B., Capt. R.N. so distinguished for his discoveries in the Arctic Regions). Gu. three estoiles in chev. betw. as many lions ramp. ar. for augmentation, a chief or, thereon a portion of the terrestrial globe ppr. the true meridian described thereon by a line passing from north to south sa. with the Arctic circle az. within which the place of the magnetic pole in latitude 70° 5' 17" and longitude 96° 46' 45" west, designated by an inescutcheon gu. charged with a lion pass, guard, of the first; the magnetic meridian shown by a line of the fourth passing through the inescutcheon with a correspondent circle, also gu. to denote more particularly the said place of the magnetic pole; the words following inscribed on the chief, viz., "Arctæos Numine Fines." Crests—1st, Ross: A fox's head erased ppr.; 2nd: On a rock a flagstaff erect, thereon hoisted the union jack, inscribed with the date, 1st June, 1831 (being that of discovering the place of the magnetic pole), and at foot, and on the sinister side of the flagstaff, the dipping-needle, showing its almost vertical position, all ppr.
2) (Lamer Park, co. Hereford). Sa. three padlocks or, in fess, an escutcheon of the last betw. two swords erect ppr. hilts and pommels gold, the escutcheon charged with a boar’s head erased gu. betw. three water bougets of the first. Crest—A branch of laurel erect ppr.
3) (Earl of Ross, extinct, Scotland). Gu. three lions ramp. ar. Crest—An eagle displ. Supporters—Two lions.
4) (Balnagowan, co. Ross, bart.). Gu. three lions ramp, ar. (formerly within a bordure of the last). Crest—A hand holding a garland of laurel ppr. Supporters—Two savages wreathed head and middle with laurel ppr. Motto—Spem successus alit.

Balnagown Castle

Balnagown Castle
credit: Tain & District Museum

5) (Kindace, co. Boss). Gu. three lions ramp. ar. within a bordure counter-compony of the second and first. Crest—A fox pass. ppr. Motto—Caute non astute.
6) (Charles Ross, son to Ross, of Kildace, 1672). Gu. three roses slipped ppr. in fess betw. as many lions ramp. ar. Crest—A fox issuant with a rose in his mouth ppr. Motto: Rosam ne rode.
7) (Morinchie, co. Ross). Gu. three lions ramp. betw. as many stars ar. Crest—A fox's head couped ppr. Motto—Spes aspera levat.
8) (Knockbreck, co. Ross, 1672). Gu. a bear's head couped ar. muzzled of the first betw. three lions ramp. Of the second. Motto—Time Deum.
9) (Pitkearie, co. Ross). Gu. three lions ramp. ar. within a bordure counter-compony or and of the first. Motto—Nou opes sed ingenium.
10) (Priesthill, 1767). Gu. three lions ramp. within a bordure ar. Crest—A dexter hand holding a garland of laurel ppr. Motto—Nobilis est ira leonis.
11) (Balkaill, 1773). Gu. three stars in chev. betw. as many lions ramp. ar. Crest—A fox’s head erased ppr. Motto—Spes aspera levat.
12) (Millcraig, co. Ross, 1795). Gu. three lions ramp. ar. on a chief or, three legs conjoined in the upper part of the thigh and flexed in triangle az. Crest—A lymphad, her oars in action ppr. flagged gu. Motto—Pro patria.
13) (Lord Ross, of Halkhead). Quarterly, 1st and 4th, or, a chev. chequy sa. and ar. betw. three water bougets of the second, for Ross; 2nd and 3rd, gu. three crescents ar. within a bordure of the last charged with eight roses of the fleld, for Melville. Crest—A hawk’s head erased or. Supporters—Two goshawks belled or. Motto—Think on.
14) (Nuick, 1672). Same Arms, within a bordure invecked sa.
15) (Henning, co. Ayr). Or, a chev. counter-embattled betw. three water bougets sa.
16) (Portivoe and Ireland, 1681). Or, on a chev. counter-embattled betw. three water bougets sa. a thistle slipped of the fleld betw. two cinquefoils erm. Crest—A rose tree bearing roses ppr. Motto—Floreat qui laborat.
17) (Craigie, 16th century). Or, a fess chequy ar. and sa. betw. three water bougets of the last.
18) (Bishop of Argyll, 1676). Or, a chev. chequy sa. and ar. betw. three water bougets of the second, in the honour point a rose slipped gu. barbed and stalked vert. Motto—Christo suavis odor.
19) or Rose - (Auchlossin, co. Aberdeen). Or, a boar's head couped gu. betw. three water bougets sa. a bordure of the last. Crest—A water bouget sa. Motto—Agnoscar eventu.
20) (Professer of Oriental Languages, Aberdeen, 1779). Or, a boar’s head couped gu. between three water bougets sa. a bordure of the last charged in chief and base with three padlocks ar. and in the flanks with two swords erected ppr. hilted and pommelled of the field. Crest—A sprig of laurel in flower ppr. Motto—Agnoscar eventu.
21) (Poland, 1786). Or, a lion’s head couped gu. betw. three water bougets sa. a bordure of the last charged with three crescents ar. Crest—A water bouget az. Motto—Agnoscar eventu.
22) (Leith-Ross, of Arnage, co. Aberdeen, 1803). Quarterly, 1st and 4th grand quarters, or, three water bougets and a bordure sa., for Ross; 2nd and 3rd grand quarters, counterquartered, 1st and 4th, or, a cross crosslet fitchee sa. betw. three crescents in chief and as many fusils in base gu. a bordure az., for Leith, 2nd and 3rd, az. a hart trippant or, attired and unguled gu., for Strachan. Crest—On a cap of maintenance a water bouget sa. Mottoes—Over the crest: Agnoscar eventu; below the shield: Virtue have virtue.

Major-General Robert Ross

Major-General Robert Ross (1766-1814), served in Napoleonic War & War of 1812

23) (Kintore, co. Aberdeen, 1810). Or, on a chev. az. betw. three water bougets sa. as many boars' heads couped of the field. Crest—A dove holding an olive branch in its mouth ppr. Motto—Virtus ad astra tendit.
24) (Ross of Bladensburg) (Rosstrevor, co. Down). Or, a chev. embattled counter-embattled betw. three water bougets sa., with an honourable augmentation granted for the service of the late General Robert Ross, who gained the Battle of Bladensburg. Crests—1st: An arm embowed in armour, the hand grasping a dagger all ppr.; 2nd: An arm in a General's uniform issuant out of a mural crown, and grasping the broken flagstaff of the standard of the United States all ppr. Motto—Per aspera virtus; also, Bladensburg.
25) (Ardnalea Craigavad, co. Down; granted to William Augustine Ross, Esq., of that place, son of William Ross, Esq., of Clonard Lodge, and to their descendants). Or, a a fess gu. betw. two water bougets in chief sa. and in base a tower az. Crest—On a mural crown gu. charged with a water bouget or, a falcon’s head erased ppr. Motto—Floret qui laborat.
26) (Cromarty, Scotland). Gu. three lions ramp. ar. in the centre a mullet of the second for diff. Crest—An eagle, wings closed ppr. Motto—Dread God.
27) (co. York, formerly Scotland). Per pale sa. and gu. two water bougets in chief and a boar’s head couped in base ar. Crest—A water bouget ar. Motto—Agnoscar eventu.

Origin, Meaning, Family History and Ross Coat of Arms and Family Crest

Surname Name Meaning, Origin, and Etymology
This Anglo-Scottish (or Celtic) last name has seven primary origin theories. First, the surname Ross is a Scottish/English name (of Norman origin) that is a habitational/locational name given to a person from Rots, near Caen, in Normandy, France, likely derived from the Germanic word rod, meaning “clearing”. This was the first home of the de Ros family, who later became established in Kent, England around 1130 AD. A second origin theory is that this is a habitational name for persons from various locales through Britain called Ross, Roos, or Roose (ex. Roos in Humberside, Ross in Northumbria, Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire, or Roose in Lancashire), deriving from the Welsh word rhos, meaning upland or moorland, or from the British predecessor of this word, meaning promontory, isthmus, or peninsula. Hence, in the second theory, it is related to the Gaelix word ros. A third theory is this derives from the Germanic personal (first) name Rozzo, deriving from the word hrod (renown), which was introduced into England by the Normans in the spelling variant Roce. Fourth, it could be a German or Teutonic (or Jewish) occupational name for a person who kept or bred horses, or perhaps who resembled a horse in appears or a person who lived near a stable, deriving from the Middle High German word ros, hros, or German ross, or Norse word hross, meaning horse. Another author states that in Cornish Britain, the word Ros means mountain, meadow or common, whereas rose and rosh mean a dale or valley between hills, which offers a perhaps a fifth origin theory for the Ross surname. Sixth, the may have referred to the red hair color or complexion of the origin bearers, hence being a variant of the names Le Rous or Rufus, meaning “the Red”. The Old English word rouse means red or red-haired. Seventh, another source claims the family was first found in the mountains of Scotland’s western coast and the Hebrides Islands, deriving from the given named Andrew, which is derived from the personal name Anrias, who was the progenitors of the MacKenzies. This Anrias descended from the O’Beolans, an Irish Gaelic tribe dating as far back as the 500s AD who first brought the Christian religion to Scotland.

In his nineteenth century book, Patronymica Britannica, Mark Antony Lower writes the following: “It is of British local origin. The great barons Ros, or Roos, of Hamlake, co.York, sprang from one Peter, who, in the reign of Henry I, assumed his surname from his lordship of Ros, in Holderness. Baronage. The Rosses of the South of Scotland appear to have sprung from the English family, and to have passed into Renfrewshire, as the Vassals of Richard de Moreville in the XII century, settling at Halkhead, co. Renfrew, and at Dalton, co. Dumfries” and “The ancient family of Ross of Renfrew, descending from Alysandre, who flourished at Renfrew, so early as the reign of King David I., wrote themselves ‘the Ross of Renfrew’, apparently down to the XV Century”.

An author by the name of Skene writes “It is well known that the surname of Ross has always been rendered in Gaelic, Clan Aurias, or Clan Gille Aurias”.

Samuel Lewis, in his book, A Topographical History of England, published in 1848, states the following in regard to the Ross genealogy or Ross ancestry: “The manor [at Roos, Yorkshire] was from the reign of Henry I the seat and property and property of the noble family of Roos, one of whose barons had the glory of leading the second division of the English army at the battle of Cressy. The site is still visible of the castle of the former barons; and in part of the old moat have been lately found a misericorde dagger and some amber beads. The place confers the original title of the present family of De Ros”.

In Scotland, this name was first record in Ayrshire, where the Ross family owned lands in the 1100s AD. This family came to Scotland from Yorkshire, England. Godfrey de Ros (around 1050-1130 AD), a vassal of the de Morevilles, obtained the lands of Stewartin in Cunningham from Richard de Moreville. There other early beaters around the same era that were vassals of Richard de Moreville were James de Ros, Reginald de Ros, and Peter de Ros. The book, Surnames of Scotland, published in 1946 by George Fraser Black mentions numerous other early bearers of this name, with one excerpt being as follows: “Godfrey de Ros witnessed de Moreville's charter of Gillemoristun, ‘que antiquitus uocabatur peniacob’ to Edulfus filius Utredi, a. 1189. Sir Godfrey Rose, Arthur de Ross, and Fergus de Rosse witnessed an agreement between the burgesses of Irvine and Brice of Eglunstone, 1205. Several of the name rendered homage, 1296. Godfrey de Roos in 1363 had a gift for life of the forfeited lands of Sir John Maxwell and of Bernard of Howdene for his services to England”.

Spelling Variations
Common spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include Rosse, Rossy, Roos, Rose, Ros, Roose, and Ruse.

Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Ross ranks 89th in popularity in terms in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following seven states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Washington, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nevada.

The surname Ross frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (115th), Scotland (14th), Wales (188th), Ireland (468th) and Northern Ireland (135th).  In England, it ranks highest in Northumberland and Durham. In Scotland, it ranks highest in Ross and Cromarty, Sutherland, Moray, and Nairn. In Wales, the surname Ross ranks highest in county Caernarfornshire. In Ireland, it ranks highest in county Monaghan. In Northern Ireland, it ranks highest in Antrim.
The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world:  Canada (36th), New Zealand (59th), Australia (69th), and South Africa (294th).

The 1890 book Homes of Family Names by H.B. Guppy, states the following in regard to this surname: “Ross is both an English and a Scottish name. As Ros, De Ros, Le Ros, Le Rus, etc., it was established over the greater part of England, from Northumberland to Wiltshire, GOO years ago (Hundred Rolls). Ross is now a Dorset name, whilst Russ has been a Wiltshire name for at least six centuries”.

Early Bearers of the Surname
The earliest known bearer of this surname was Serlo de Ros, recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 AD, which is a survey of England and Wales ordered by William the Conqueror, as was one Anschitil de Ros, as well as Ansgotus de Ros in Buckinghamshire.
A Bernard de Ross was recorded in Yorkshire in 1177 AD. Robert Rosce was documented in the Pipe Rolls of Kent in 1199 AD. Sir Godfrey de Rose was documented in Irvine, Scotland in 1205 AD.

History, Genealogy, and Ancestry
The famous genealogist Bernard Burke’s books “The Landed Gentry” and “Peerage and Knights” discusses nine branches of this family:

Ross of Cromarty
The discussion begins with a mention of George William Holmes Ross, Esquire of Cromarty, who was a Lieutenant-Colonel Commander of the Highland Rifle Militia, as well as Deputy Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace, Convener, county Cromarty. He was born in 1825 and in 1849 he married Adelaide Lucy, daughter of Duncan Davidson of Tulloch, and had seven children with her: Duncan Munro (Lieutenant Royal Navy), Hugh Rose (Lieutenant Royal Army), Walter Charteris (Second Lieutenant 68th Light Infantry), Katherine Elizabeth Julia (married Francis Maude Reid), Louise Jane Hamilton (married Ronald Archibald, 6th Lord MacDonald), Ida Eleanora Constance, and Matilda Elizabeth. On the paternal side, Burke traces the lineage of this branch of the Ross family tree back to the Rose family of Tarlogie (Reverend Hugh Rose lived in the seventeenth century). Through his mother, George William represents the families of Ross of Pitkerie and Munro of Culcairn, and, as great great great grandson of Sir Robert Munro, 22nd Baron and 5th Baronet of Fowlis, is the lineal representative of the Munros of Fowlis, Chiefs of the clan.

Ross of Pitkerie
This branch of the family tree is believed to descend from the third son of one of the Barons of Balnagown, Chiefs of the clan Ross, and represents in the male line of the Earls of Ross. A one George Ross, son of Andrew, was born in 1700, and was an army agent during the reign of King George II of Great Britain. In 1772, he purchased the estate of Cromarty, and died without posterity, whereupon he was succeeded by his half-nephew, Alexander-Gray of Over Skibo, county Sutherland, who assumed the surname of Ross. Alexander Gray Ross died without male issue, whereupon the estate devolved to the grand-niece of George Ross, Catherine Munro of Culcairn. She married Hugh Rose Esq. of Glastullich (a member of the Roses of Tarlogie) and she had a son with him named George William Homes, as well as two daughters: Catherine (married Thomas Knox Holmes) and Arabella (married Duncan Davidson).

Ross of Netherley
The discussion begins with a mention of Horatio Ross, Esquire of Netherley, county Kincardine, who was Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant born in 1801. In 1833, he married Justine Henrietta, daughter of Colin Macrae of Cornhill, and had a son with her: Horatio Seftlinberg (born 1834, of the Bengal Civil Service, and married Caroline De Lautour St. George). Horatio was the eldest son of Hercules Ross, Esquire of Rossie Castle in county Forfar and Henrietta Parish. Hercules built Rossie Castle in 1805, but sold it in 1853.

Netherley House

Netherley House
wiki: C Michael Hogan, SA2.0

Horatio Ross

Horatio Ross

Rossie Castle

Rossie Castle

Ross of Blandenburg of Rosstrevor
The discussion begins with a mention of Robert Skeggington Ross-of-Blandensburg of county Down, a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant who was born in 1847 and attended Exeter College and served as a Captain in the Royal South Town Militia. Burke traces the Ross genealogy back to Robert Ross, a descendant of Sir Davis Ross, a Commissioner of Ulster under King James I, who married a Scotch woman of the same name and had two sons with her: Robert (Colonel in the army) and David. The later son David was an Esquire and Major in the army. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Adderley of Innishannon and Elizabeth Bernard, and had two sons with her: Thomas and Robert (a Major General in the army who served in the Peninsula War, married Elizabeth Catherine Glascock). The former son was Reverend Thomas Ross of Rosstrevor, who married Maria, daughter of Sir Edward O’Brien, and had three issue with her: David Robert, Edward (married Anne Courtenay), and Charlotte. This branch bore the following Ross Coat of Arms (erroneously called the Ross Family Crest): Or, a chevron embattled counter-embattled between three water bougets sable with an honourable augmentation granted for the service of the late General Ross. Crests: 1st, an arm embowed in armour the hand grasping a dagger all proper; 2nd, An arm in general’s uniform issuant out of a mural crown, and grasping the broken flag-staff of the standard of the United States.

Ross-Lewin of Ross Hill
The discussion begins with a mention of Reverend George Ross-Lewin of Ross Hill in county Clare, who was a Justice of the Peace and veteran of the Royal Navy who, in March 1844, married Grace, daughter of Henry Sargint of Castlebiew, and had six issue with her: Henry Hastings, George Harrison (Curate of Hurtworth-on-Tees), Richard Sargint Sadleir (Curate of Kildysart, married Louisa Maunsell), Robert O’Donelan (Chaplain in the Royal Navy), Anna Thomasina, and Mneme Geraldine Mabel. The Ross genealogy is traced back to George Ross, Esquire of Fortfergus who was born in 162 and was the first possessor of the family seat in county Clare, Ireland. George claimed he descended from the noble and prominent Rosses of England, and he bore their coat of arms, as sculptured on the church wall of Clondegad, close to where his body was interred. The Lewin accompanied Sir Richard Bingham into Ireland in 1886, and they obtained estates in Munster and Connaught. The great great grandfather of the current representative was John Ross Lewin, Esquire of Fortfergus in count y Clare, who married Elizabeth Hastings and had issue with her: George, Herman, Mary, and Barbara. The Ross Coat of Arms is blazoned as follows in heraldry: Quarterly: 1st and 4th, gules, three water bougets argent; 2nd and 3rd, argent, a bend engrailed sable between two trefoils slipped vert. Crest: On a chapeau gules turned up ermine a peacock in pride proper.

Grove-Ross of Invercharron
The discussion begins with a mention of Margaret Ankervill Grove-Ross of Inercharron in county Ross who assumed the surname of Ross when she succeeded her brother in 1875. In 1834, she married Captain Joseph John Grove, and had the following issue with her: Joseph Charles Ross (married Emily Henrietta Hay Erskine), Harriet Goldie Ross, Charles, and Margaret (married Major James Bailie). His son Charles married Margaret, daughter of James Borrowman, and had issue with her: Charles, Ronald, and Robert. The line succeeded to Robert and he died in 1836 whereupon he was succeeded by his eldest son, named Robert Ferguson Eoss, who died without issue in 1875. He was succeeded by his sister, the Margaret mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph. The Ross Coat of Arms (mistakenly called the Ross Family Crest) is blazoned in heraldry as follows: Gules, three lions rampant, argent. Crest: A hand holding a wreath of laurel.

First Known Ancestor and Ross Pedigree from Him
The first known ancestor of the Ross family was a member of the deTir Connail family who was born in Scotland prior to 850 AD. His son was Earl Duncan of Caithness who was born in Scotland in 871 AD. He married Groa Thorsteindottir who had several issue, including one Duncan Dunkeld who was born in Dunkel, Perthshire whoborn around 910 AD and was “Lay Abbot of Dunchad” and “Lay Abbot of Dunkeld. His son was Duncan of Dunkeld who was born in Atholl, Scotland in 949 AD. He married a member of the McNamara family and later Athelreda Dunbar Moramaer and had two issue with her: Crinan Dunkeld and Duncan Macdonachadh. The former was born in Atholl in around 980 AD and he married Bethoc MacAlpin and had four issue with her. One of the sons was Duncan (Dunkeld) of Scotland who was born in 1007 in Scotland, known as Duncan I, King of Strathclyde and Kind of the Scots, also known as Donnachad mac Crinain. The Ross genealogy and line of descent or pedigree for him is as follows:
Malcolm Dunkeld, aka Malcolm III, King of Scots, King of Cumbrians, (born Atholl, in 1031 AD)
Alexander mac Mail Coluim, Alexander I, “the Fierce) (born in Fife in 1077)
Mael Coluim or Malcolm MacEth (Stirling Castle 1110 AD)
Malcomn Dunkeld Macbet, 1st Earl of Ross, (born in Moray, Scotland in 1158 AD)
Fearchar MacTaggart, 1st Earl of Ross, O'Beolan (born in Applecross in 1170 AD)
Uilleam (William I) de Ross (born in Cromarty, Scotland in 1194 AD)
Uilleam or Willian 11, 3rd Earl of Ross O’Beolan de Ross (born in Fearn in 1249 AD)
Aogh or Hugh Ross, Earl of Ross, Earl of Stratherne de Sotheronland (born in Fearn in 1275)
Hugh Ross (born in Rarichies, Cromarty, Scotland in 1318 AD)
William Ross, 2nd Lord of Balnagown (born 1338 AD)
Hugh Ross,4th Laird of Balnagown, Chief of Clan Ross (born in Balnagowan, Scotland, 1390 AD)
John Ross, 5th Laird (born around 1420)
Alexander Ross, 6th
Sir David Ross, 7th (born in Balnadowan, Scotland in 1485)
Walter Ross, 8th (born in Ross & Cromarty)
Alexander Ross, 9th (born 1516)
George Ross, 10th (born in Cromarty, 1557)
David Ross (born 1582)
David Ross of Balnagowan, 12th Laird (1619)
David Ross, 13th Laird (born in Balnagowan, Scotland in 1644)

Ross of Pitcalnie
The discussion begins with a mention of George Ross, Esquire of Pitcalnie in county Ross who was Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant. He was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1803 and in 1837, he married Catherine, daughter of Dugald Gilchrist of Ospierdale. Burke traces the Ross ancestry to Alexander Ross, 9th of Balnagown, who descended from High Ross, younger son of William Early of Ross. Alexander married Jane Sinclair, daughter of the Earl of Caithness, with whom he had two issue: George and Catherine. He later married Catherine, daughter of Kenneth MacKenzie of Kintail, and had a son with her named Nicholas, who was the 1st Laird of Pitcalne. His son George Ross married Marjorie Campbell, daughter of the Laird of Calder, with whom he had two issue: Jane and David. His son David married Jane, daughter of John Gordon, Earl of Sutherland, but had no issue with her. He later married Annabella, daughter of Murray, Early of Tullibardine, with whom he had a son named David. This David, of Balnagown, married Margery, daughter of High Fraser, Lord Lovat, with whom he had two sons: David and Alexander. The former was his heir and married Lady Anne Stewart, daughter of James, Early of Moray. He died without posterity and was succeed by his cousin Pitcalnie. He willed the estate of Balnagown to General Charles Ross, of the branch of the family tree of Lord Ross of Halkhead, from whom it passed to the present family of Balnadown. Going back some generation to Alexander (the family progenitor mentioned near the beginning of this paragraph), his son Nicholas Ross was the 1st of Pitcalnie. Nicholas married Eupham, daughter of Hugh Munro of Assynt, and he had one son named David. This David Ross, married Jean Dunbar, and had two sons: Malcom and David. His son David married Jean, daughter of Alexander Mackenzie of Shilcoire and later Christian, daughter of Colonel John Munro of Obedale. His son was Alexander Ross of Pitcalnie, who married Anne, daughter of Walter Ross of Balmackie. His heir was Malcom Ross, who married Jane, daughter of James MacCulloch of Pillon, and had issue with her named Alexander. Alexander Ross of Pitcalnie married Jane, daughter of James Munro, and had a son with her named Malcom. He then married Isobel, daughter of David MacCulloch, but did not have issue with her. His third wife was Naomi, daughter of John Dunbar, with whom he had one son. This son was Munro Ross of Pitlanie, who died without ossue and was succeeded by his relative, James Ross, 9th Laird of Pitcalnie. He claimed the Earldom of Ross as heir male of that dignity, and of the Balnagown family in February 1778, but no determination was made by the House of Lords.  The Ross Coat of Arms has the following heraldic blazon: Gules, three lions rampant argent. Crest: An elk’s head issuant from a sheaf of corn proper.

Robert-Ross of Glenmoidart
The discussion begins with a mention of Patrick Robertson-Ross, Esquire of Glenmoidart in county Inverness who was a Colonel in the army and Adjutant General of Militia in Canada, as well as a Knight of the Legion of France who was born in 1828. In 1851, he married Amelia Anne, daughter of Charles Maynard of Wokingham, and had four children with her: Hugh Maynard Eyre, Patrick, Bessie, and Georgina Elphinstone Gordon (married John Dodd). Patrick was the son of Honorable Lord Robertson, a prominent Scotch Judge and Mary, daughter of Reverend Dr. Ross of Kimonivaig. He succeeded his maternal uncle, Lieutenant-General Hugh Ross and in compliance with deed of entail, received the royal license to take, use, and bear the surname of Ross, in addition to and after that of Robertson, and the designation of “Glenmoidart” also to bear the arms for himself and heir of entail. The family claimed descent from the ancient Scottish family of Ross. The Ross Coat of Arms (mistakenly called Ross Family Crest): has the following heraldic blazon: Quarterly, or and gules, on a cross ermine between in the 1st and 4th quarters a lymphad sable; and in the 2nd and 3rd three lions rampant ermine a water-bouget of the fourth. Crest: An eagle displayed proper charged on the breast with a water-bouget sable, and resting each claw a buckle or.

Ross of Dunmoyle
The discussion begins with a mention of Sir Ronald Deane Ross, 2nd Baronet, of Dunmoyle, Errigal Keerogue, county Tyrone, who was educated at Eton and Trinity College Cambridge. He was a Deputy Lieutenant and a Lieutenant Colonel in the North Irish Horse, as well as a Barrister-at-law. He was born in 1888 and succeeded his father in 1935. He was also a Member of Parliament for Londonderry and he served in World War I. In 1921, he married Dorothy Evelyn Frances, daughter of  Reverend Algernon Dudley Ryder. Burke traces the Ross ancestry back to The Right Honorable Sir John Ross,  who was born in 1853 and held numerous titles, including a Member of Parliament for Londonderry and Lord Chancellor of Ireland. He was the son of Reverend Robert Ross of Londonderry. He was created a baronet of February 1919. In 1993, he married Katherine Jeffcock, daughter of Lieutenant Colonel Deane Mann, and had three issue with her: Sir Ronald Deane (mentioned above), May Margaret Ernestine (married Commander Francis Perceval Saunders of the Royal Navy in 1910), and Irene Katherine Douglas. The family was seated at Sunmoyle, Six Mile Cross in county Tyrone, at 49 Morpeth Mansions. The Ross Coat of Arms has the following blazon in heraldry: Gules a portullis or, between three lions rampant guardant each holding between his forepaws a water bouget sable. Crest: A fox’s head erased holding in his mouth a white rose slipped barbed and seeded all proper.

Early American and New World Settlers
Henry Rosse, age 31, came to Bermuda aboard the Dorst in September 1635.
Rebecca Rosse was recorded as living in Virginia in February 1623.
Thomas Rosse owned 100 acres of land in Charles Cittie, Virginia in 1626.
William Ross came aboard the William & Susan to New England in 1678.

Early settlers in colonial America bearing this name include Daniel Ross (Boston 1651), Alester Ross (1652), Andreas Ross (New York 1710), Charles Ross (South Carolina 1716), Christopher Ross (South Carolina 1716), Jean Ross (New York 1738), and Anneal Ross (Pennsylvania 1740).

In Canada, some of the earliest settlers who came to Nova Scotia (perhaps Pictou?) in 1773 were Catherine, Christina, Donald, and Janet Ross.  One of the first settlers in Australia bearing this last name was Simon Ross, a convict from Edinburgh, Scotland, who came to Tasmania (then called Van Diemen’s Land) who came in 1823 aboard a ship named the Asia. In New Zealand, one of the first settlers with this last name was George Ross, a black smith aged 21 years, who came aboard the Blenheim in 1840 and arrived in the city of Wellington.

Early Americans Bearing the Ross Family Crest
Charles Bolton’s American Armory (1927) contains two entries for this surname:
1) Gu 3 lions ramp 2 and 1 arg. Crest: a cubit arm ppr holding a chaplet of laurel vert. Motto: Spem successus slit. Bookplate John Ross, Phila. Jas. Turner, sc.
2) Per fess sa and gu 2 water bougets arg in chief and a boar's head couped arg in base. Crest: a water bouget of the field.Motto: Agnoscar eventu. Bookplate James Alfred Ross.

Crozier’s General Armory (1904) contains two entries for this name:
1) Revered George Ross of Delware, originally from New Castle. Gules, three lions rampant argent. Crests: 1) A hand holding a garland of laurel proper and 2) A demi-lion rampant gules. Motto: Spem successus alit.
2) Hugh Ross of Kittery, Maine,  1727, originally from Belfast, county Antrim, Northern Ireland. Within a border or, charged with three leopard’s faces gules, a field of the second, thereon as many lions rampant argent. Crest: A dexter arm in armour, wielding a sword proper. Motto: Constant and true.

Matthew’s American Armoury (1907) and Bluebook does not contain an entry for the Ross surname.

We have identified four Ross family mottoes:
1) *Arctæos numine fines (I reached the limits of the north by the help of God)
2) Spem successus alit (Success nourishes hope) (Ross of Balnagowan)
3) Caute non astute (Cautiously, not craftily) (Ross of Kindies)
4) Spes aspera levat (He lightens difficulties by Hope) (Ross of Morinchie)
5) Time Deum (Fear God)
6) Nou opes sed ingenium (Not wealth, but mind)
7) Nobilis est ira leonis () (Grove-Ross of Invercharron)
8) Pro patria (For country)
9) Floreat qui laborat (He is prosperous who labours)
10) Christo suavis odor (A sweet savour to Christ)
11) Agnoscar eventu (I shall be known by the results) (Ross of Auchlossen)
12) Virtus ad astra tendit (Virtue tend toward heaven or Power tends toward the stars)
13) Per aspera virtus (Virtute through hardships)
14) **Qui spinsosior fragrantior (The more thorny the more fragrant) (Ross of Marchinch)
15) ***Rosan ne rode (Gnaw not the rose)
16) Consilio ae virtute () (Ross-Lewin of Ross Hill)
17) Think on
18) Virtue have virtue
19) Dread God
20) Constant and true (Ross of Belfast, Rose of Kilravock)

*This motto was borne by Sir John Ross, C.B., distinguished for his discoveries in the Arctic regions.
**An allusion to the crest, a hand holding a slip of a rose-bush proper
***An allusion to the crest, a fox with a rose in his mouth

Sir Hew Dalrymple Ross

Sir Hew Dalrymple Ross (1779-1868), Field Marshal
credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

We have 27 coats of arms for the Ross surname depicted here. These 27 blazons are from Bernard Burke’s book The General Armory of England, Ireland, and Scotland, which was published in 1848. The bottom of this page contains the blazons, and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it. People with this last name that bore a Ross Coat of Arms include:
1) Captain Thomas Ross of Woolwich in county Kent (of the Balnagowan family), to descendants of his grandfather
2) Ross, late Gray, of London, and Cromarty, Scotland, 1786
3) Ross to Farquharson, Captain, Royal Navy, Escutheon of pretense, 1806
4) Major General Robert Ross, of Bladensburg (deed Honorable Armorial Ensigns on monument to him) Augmentation, 26 Apri 1816
5) Sir John, C.B., Post-Captain, Royal Navy, Arctic Explorer, Augmentation 1835
6) Major-General Sir Patrick Ross, 1834, Supporters, 1837
7) General Sir Hew Dalrymple Ross, G.C.B, 1855
8) William of Nofferton, county York, in the 1800s?

There are thousands of notable people with the Ross surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include: 1) James Ross (1762-1847) who was a lawyer and senator from Pennsylvania who was also appointed by President George Washington to negotiate and defuse the rebels of the Whiskey Rebellion, 2) Elizabeth Griscom “Betst” Ross (1752-1836), a woman from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who was widely credited for making the first American flag and taught to American school children from a young age, 3) Robert Joseph Ross (1936) who was an American football player and coach who coached numerous college teams as well as three NFL Teams: Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Charges, and the Detroit Lions, 4) Charles Benjamin Ross (1876-1946) who was the 15th Governor of Idaho, 5) Dennis Alan Rose (1959) who is a Republican that was a member of the United States House of Representatives for Florida, 6) Edmund Ross (1826-1907), born in Oiho, who was a United States Senator from Kansas just after he American Civil War, as well as the 13th Governor of New Mexico Territory, 7) Lawrence Sullivan Ross (1838-1898) who was the 19th Governor of Texas and a General in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, 8) Dr. Marion Spence Ross (1903-1994) who was a Scottish physicist known for her work in fluid dynamics and X-ray crystallography, 9) Nellie Davis Tayloe Ross (1876-1977) who was the 14th Governor of Wyoming, and the first woman to be sworn in as a Governor of a U.S. State in 1925, as well as the 28th Director of the United States Mint, 10) George Ryan Ross III (1936) who is an American musician who is the main songwriter and backup vocalist for Panic at the Disco, 11) Sir William Ross (1877-1971) who was a Scottish philosopher born in Thurso known for his work in the field of ethics, and 12) Perley Ason Ross (1883-1939) who was an experimental physicist born in Panacea, Missouri known for his contribution to the fields of X-rays.

General John Ross

General Sir John Ross (1829-1905)
credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

Alexander Ross

Alexander Ross (1591-1654), Clergyman
credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

Alexander Henry Ross

Alexander Henry Ross (1829-1888), Barrister and politician
credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

Clan Ross
Class Ross, called Clann Anndrais in Scottish Gaelixc, is a Highland Scottish clan whose original chiefs were the Earls of Ross (rulers of the province of Ross in Northern Scotland starting in the 12th century). Their motto is Spem successus alit, which is Latin for “Success nourishes hope”. Their badge of crest depicts a dexter hand holding a garland of laurel. The Clan’s plant is juniper or bearberry and their pipe music is the Earl of Ross’s March. Their historic seat is Balnagown Castle (other castle they held or were associated with include Arnage Castle, Balconie Castle, Pitcalnie Castle, Portencross Castle, Sanquhar Castle, Shandwick Castle, and others).

The Ross last name was found in the monastery of Applecross, which was founded by St. Maelrubha, where they became hereditary abbots and later Earls of Ross. They possessed the lands of Faster Ross and their first chief was Feacher MacAntSqaairt, a priest’s son, who aided King Alexander II of Scotland, opposing the old Celtic dynasty.  He was a direct descendant of King Niall, and received Norman Knighthood from Alexander, as well as the Earldom of Ross in 1234 AD. He helped Alexander defeat a rebellion led by Donald Bane, a rival to the Scottish throne.  During the Wars of Scottish Independence, Clan Ross fought against the English at the Battle of Dunbar in 1296 AD. They also fought alongside King Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 AD.

Sir John Ross

Sir John Ross, 1st Baronet of Dunmoyle (1854-1935)

George Ross of Pitcalnie

George Ross of Pitcalnie
credit: Tain and District Museum

Sir George William Ross

Sir George William Ross LLD (1841-1914), Premier of Ontario

Elizabeth Griscom Ross

Betsy Ross

Ross Coat of Arms Meaning

See glossary for symbol meaning.

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