The surname of RAMSEY was a locational name 'of Ramsey' a spot in Huntingdonshire and a place so called in County Essex. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. Following the Crusades in Europe a need was felt for a family name. This was recognized by those of noble blood, who realised the prestige and practical advantage it would add to their status.
The first bearer of this name recorded in Scotland was Simmundus de Ramsay, a Norman baron from Huntingdonshire, England, who was a retainer of David, Earl of Huntingdonshire, brother of King Alexander 1. of Scotland. Simmundus was granted lands in Midlothian by the earl, and he is recorded as a witness to a charter in 1140. Among his descendants are the earls of Dalhousie. Other records of the name mention Rameseia (without surname) listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. The name was spelt as Hramesege in the year 1106. Symone de Ramsat witnessed a charter in Scotland in the year 1198. Michael de Ramesay was documented as the sheriff of Fife in 1395. Alba, the country which became Scotland, was once shared by four races; the Picts who controlled most of the land north of the Central Belt; the Britons, who had their capital at Dumbarton and held sway over the south west, including modern Cumbria; the Angles, who were Germanic in origin and annexed much of the Eastern Borders in the seventh century, and the Scots. The latter came to Alba from the north of Ireland late in the 5th century to establish a colony in present day Argyll, which they named Dalriada, after their homeland. The Latin name SCOTTI simply means a Gaelic speaker.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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