• step01
  • step02
  • step03
  • step04
step 01
step 02
step 03
step 04

Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (England). Ar. a martlet within an orle gu. in chief two martlets of the second. Crest—On a rock a goose ppr.
2) (that Ilk in Teviotdale; derived from Sir Richard De Ruthuirfurde, “Dominus ejusdem” in 1390; Catherine, sister and heir of Richard Rutherford, of that Ilk, m. James Stewart, of Traquair). Motto—Nec sorte, nec fato. (Edgerston, co. Roxburgh; Thomas Rutherford, of Edgerston, uncle and heir male of the last Richard Rutherford, of that Ilk; heiress in. Oliver, of Dinlabyre, who took the name of Rutherford). Ar. an orle gu. and in chief three martlets sa. beaked of the second. Crest—A martlet sa.
3) (Lord Rutherford, and Earl of Teviot). Motto—Per mare, per terras; also, Provide. Ar. an orle gu. in chief three martlets sa. all within a bordure az. charged with thistles, roses, fleurs-de-lis, and harps or, alternately. Crest—A mermaid holding in the dexter hand a mirror, and in the sinister a comb all ppr. Supporters— Two horses ppr.
4) (Fairningtoun, co. Roxburgh). Motto—Arnico fidus ad aras. Ar. an orle engr. gu. in chief three martlets sa. beaked of the second. Crest—A martlet, as in the arms.
5) (Dr. Thomas Rutherford, Edinburgh, 1745). Motto—I pede fausto. As Rutherford, of that Ilk, with a crescent gu. in base for diff. Crest—A horse’s head couped ppr. bridled gu.
6) (Hundalce, co. Roxburgh; derived from Nicol, third son of Sir Richard). Ar. an orle gu. voided or, and in chief three martlets sa.
7) (Edinburgh, 1871; nephew of the eminent Scotch judge, Lord Rutherfurd). Motto—Per mare, per terras. Ar. an orle and in chief three martlets gu. a bordure erm. Crest—A mermaid holding in her dexter hand a mirror, in her sinister a comb ppr.

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

Rutherford Origin:

Scotland, England

Origins of Rutherford:

The surname of Rutherford finds its roots in both England and Scotland. Within the country of Scotland, the Clan Rutherford was a powerful family who resided within the Border Country, and who were the lords of an estate known as the Lands of Rutherford in the area of Roxburgh. Thus, the surname of Rutherford may be a locational surname for this area. This means that it was often taken by the Lord or owner of the land from which the name derives. Others who may have take a locational surname are people who have migrated out of the area to seek out work. The easiest way to identify someone who was a stranger at that time was by the name of their birthplace. Another possible origin of the surname of Rutherford is that it hailed from an Old English Pre 7th Century word of “hryther,” which can be translated to mean “cattle,” and the word “forda” which can be translated to mean “a shallow river crossing.” In the case of this origin of the surname of Rutherford, it may be a topographical name for someone who lived in an area where cattle dominated a shallow river crossing, or someone who was a cattle boy. A topographical surname is used to describe someone who lived on or near a residential landmark. This landmark could be either man made or natural, and would have been easily identifiable in the area from which it hailed, thus making the people who lived near it easily distinguished. In the case of the surname of Rutherford being a locational surname, this means that the original bearer of the surname of Rutherford most likely took care of the cattle in an area like this, meaning that he actually carried out this job. Occupational surnames were not originally hereditary surnames. They only became hereditary if the son followed in his father’s footsteps for a career; then the surname became hereditary and was used by the children and spouse of the son.


More common variations are: Rutherfourd, Rutherfoord, Ruthrford, Routherford, Rutherrford, Rutherfored, Ruthherford, Rtherford, Ruttherford, Rutherfourd, Rutherfoord, Rotherford, Ruthurford, Rutherferd



The first recorded spelling of the surname of Rutherford was found within the country of Scotland. One person by the name of Sir William de Rotherford was named as a witness to a charter by Henry de Grahame in the year of 1200. This charter was decreed under the reign of one King William of Scotland, who was known throughout the ages as “The Lyon.” King William of Scotland ruled from the year of 1165 to the year of 1214. Other mentions of the surname of Rutherford in Scotland include one Huwe Ruwerford, who was also a charter witness in the year of 1215, and one Nicolas de Rotherford, who witnessed a quitclaim by Malcom de Constabletun in the year of 1260 in Glasgow.


The first recorded spelling of the surname of Rutherford in the country of England was one Katherina Rutherfoorde, who was recorded as being baptized at the area of Howden, Yorkshire in the year of 1562 in the month of December.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Rutherford: United States 32,438; England 9,292; Canada 4,990; Australia 3,810; South Africa 2,447; Scotland 2,251; New Zealand 1,586; Germany 504; Northern Ireland 501; Ghana 399

Notable People:

Major-General Harry Kenneth Rutherford (1883-1964) who was Attached to Office of the Chief of Ordinance from America in the year of 1942 to the year of 1943

Ann Rutherford (1917-2012) who was born with the name of Therese Ann Rutherford, and who was an American actress who was born in Canada, and acted in films, on the radio, and on television, and who was most notably recognized for her portrayal of Scarlett O’ Hara’s younger sister in the film Gone With the Wind, and who also stared in the Andy Hardy movies

F. S. Rutherford, who served as a Delegate to the National Convention from the state of Illinois in the year of 1860, and who was a Republican politician from America

Elwood Rutherford, who served as the Mayor of Banning, California in the year of 1957 to the year of 1959, and who was a politician from America

Dan Rutherford (born in 1955) who served as a Delegate to the Republican National Convention from the state of Illinois in the year of 2004, and in the year of 2008, and who is a Republican politician from America

Rutherford Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Rutherford blazon are the martlet and orle. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and argent.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”1. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 2. Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).3

Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) 4. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5.

The martlett is by far the most common bird to appear in British Heraldry, perhaps only equalled by the eagle, however it is not a species ever to be found in an ornithologists handbook! The word itself is though to have come from the French word merlette, the female blackbird and itself a similar type of charge used in French Heraldry. 6. Over time the image has become quite stylised, without visible legs or distinctive feathers. Wade suggests that this representation arises from “the appearance of the bird of paradise to ancient travellers” 7. Other bird species may be named in coats of arms (cornish chough is a frequent example) but in actual execution their appearance is often indistinguishable from the martlet.

Over time the shape of the heraldic shield has become most frequently represented as the rounded triangle known as a heater shape. So pleasing is this shape that it appears in its own right both as an escutcheon (the filled shape) and the orle, which is a broad outline of the shape. 8. A larger number of small charges may also be described as in orle when they are arranged to mimic the shape of the shield outline. 9

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Coat of Arms Database commented on 15-Jan-2019
I took a brief look and it looks like his grandfather was Samuel Rutherford, born in 1670 in Scotland. I will add him during the next update.
Ann Reynolds commented on 15-Jan-2019
By any chance does Brigadier General Griffith Rutherford who served under George Washington, service in Colonial Militia 1760–1775, part if the Rutherford clan you mention? His father was John Rutherford from Ulster Scots descent, and mother was Elizabeth (née Griffin), who was of Welsh descent. If so, his campaigns in America make him someone to be listed. Brave man, many, many battles, friend and neighbor of with Daniel Boone too.
Scott commented on 05-Jan-2019
I'm scott rutherford son of Charles rutherford, who is the son of zelma rutherford from Arkansas that is as far back as I could get. My email address. Warrick2191@gmail.com


  • 1 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 2 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52
  • 3 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
  • 4 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 5 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 6 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Martlet
  • 7 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P79
  • 8 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Orle
  • 9 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P141