RATCLIFFEnglish Habitational name from any of the places, in various parts of England, called Ratcliff(e), Radcliffe, Redcliff, or Radclive, all of which derive their names from Old English rēad meaning "red" + clif meaning "cliff", "slope", "riverbank".
RAVENELEnglish, French Habitational name from Ravenel in Oise or a metonymic occupational name for a grower or seller of horseradish, from a diminutive of Old French ravene ‘horseradish’ (Latin raphanus)... [more]
READINGEnglish Habitational name from the county seat of Berkshire, which gets its name from Old English Readingas ‘people of Read(a)’, a byname meaning ‘red’. Topographic name for someone who lived in a clearing, an unattested Old English ryding.
REDDENEnglish Location name meaning "clearing or cleared woodland." Communities called Redden include one in Roxburghshire, Scotland and another in Somerset, England. A notable bearer is actor Billy Redden who played the dueling banjoist Lonnie in the 1972 film 'Deliverance.'
REDDICKEnglish Habitational name from Redwick in Gloucestershire, named in Old English with hrēod "reeds" and wīc "outlying settlement".
REDDINGEnglish, German, Dutch English variant spelling of READING. In 1841 Redding was the most commonly used surname in all of Buckinghamshire. A famous bearer is Otis Redding.... [more]
REDDISHEnglish This surname is derived from a geographical locality. 'of Reddish,' a village near Stockport, Cheshire.
REDWOODEnglish Name possibly derived from the colour of the bark of trees or the name of the town Reedworth between Durham and Devon
REEDUSEnglish, Scottish An English and Scottish name of uncertain origin. Possibly a reduced form of English Redhouse, a habitational name from any of the numerous places named Redhouse, including over ninety farms.
REIDHEADEnglish The origins of the Reidhead surname are uncertain. In some instances, it was no doubt derived from the Old English word "read," meaning "red," and was a nickname that came to be a surname. Either way, we may conclude that it meant "red-haired" or "ruddy complexioned."
RELPHEnglish From the Old French male personal name Riulf, of Germanic origin and meaning literally "power-wolf" (cf. RICULF).
RENSHAWEnglish, Scottish A habitational surname from any of the so-called or like-sounding places in the United Kingdom. These include Renishaw in Derbyshire, Ramshaw in Durham, the lost Renshaw in Cheshire and Radshaw in Yorkshire... [more]
RESTONEnglish Location name from northern England meaning "brush wood settlement" or place where brush wood, also known as rispe, grew.
RHETTEnglish, Dutch Anglicized form of Dutch de Raedt, derived from raet "advice, counsel".
RHINEGerman, French, English, Irish A habitational name for an individual whom lived within close proximity of the River Rhine (see RHEIN). The river name is derived from a Celtic word meaning 'to flow' (Welsh redan, 'flow').... [more]
RIBCHESTEREnglish This name originates from the small village in Lancashire that shares the same name. Interestingly, most people with the name 'Ribchester' are in Lancashire, but a lot are also found in Newcastle Upon Tyne.
RICHERSEnglish, German From a Germanic personal name composed of the elements ric ‘power(ful)’ + hari, heri ‘army’. The name was introduced into England by the Normans in the form Richier, but was largely absorbed by the much more common RICHARD... [more]
RICHMONDEnglish Habitational name from any of the numerous places so named, in northern France as well as in England. These are named with the Old French elements riche "rich, splendid" and mont "hill"... [more]
RIDGEWAYEnglish Comes from Middle English 'riggewey', hence a topographic name for someone who lived by such a route or a habitational name from any of various places so named, for example in Cheshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, and Staffordshire.
RIVETTEnglish, French English (East Anglia): metonymic occupational name for a metalworker, from Middle English, Old French rivet ‘small nail or bolt’ (from Old French river ‘to fix or secure’, of unknown origin).... [more]
ROCHESTEREnglish Means "person from Rochester", Kent (probably "Roman town or fort called Rovi"). A fictional bearer of the surname is Mr Rochester, the Byronic hero of Charlotte Brontë's 'Jane Eyre' (1847).
ROCKEnglish Topographic name for someone who lived near a notable crag or outcrop, from Middle English rokke "rock" (see ROACH), or a habitational name from a place named with this word, as for example Rock in Northumberland.
ROCKFORDEnglish An altered spelling of English Rochford; alternatively it may be an Americanized form of French Rochefort or Italian Roccaforte.
ROCKWELLEnglish Means "person from Rockwell", Buckinghamshire and Somerset (respectively "wood frequented by rooks" and "well frequented by rooks"). Famous bearers include American illustrator Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) and Utah pioneer Porter Rockwell (1813-1878).
RODHAMEnglish From Roddam in Northumberland. The name is thought to have derived from Germanic *rodum, meaning 'forest clearing'.
RODMANEnglish The surname Rodman is an ancient English surname, derived from a trade name, "men who were by the tenure or customs of their lands to ride with or for the lord of the manor about his business". The most famous bearer of this name is the basketball player Dennis Rodman.
RODWELLEnglish Rodwell, a name of Anglo-Saxon origin, is a locational surname deriving from any one of various places in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, and Kent, England. In English, the meaning of the name Rodwell is "Lives by the spring near the road".
ROEEnglish Nickname for a timid person, derived from the Middle English ro meaning "roe"; also a midland and southern form of RAY.
ROFFEYEnglish There are two small villages named "Roffey". One in England, near Horsham, and one in France, Burgundy. The name is of Norman orgin. First mentioned in (surviving English documents) in 1307 when a George Roffey buys a house... [more]
ROLFEnglish From the Middle English personal name Rolf, composed of the Germanic elements hrōd "renown" and wulf "wolf". This name was especially popular among Nordic peoples in the contracted form Hrólfr, and seems to have reached England by two separate channels; partly through its use among pre-Conquest Scandinavian settlers, partly through its popularity among the Normans, who, however, generally used the form Rou(l) (see ROLLO).
ROLLSEnglish Possibly derived from the Latin word rotus, meaning "wheel". It would indicate one who built wheels as a living. A famous bearer was American inventor and entrepreneur Charles Rolls (1877-1910), founder of the Rolls-Royce Ltd along with Henry Royce (1863-1933).
ROLSTONEnglish English habitational name from any of various places, such as Rowlston in Lincolnshire, Rolleston in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, and Staffordshire, or Rowlstone in Herefordshire, near the Welsh border... [more]
ROVEREnglish, German (Anglicized) This surname is derived from Middle English roof (from Old English hrof) combined with the agent suffix (i)er, which denotes someone who does/works with something. Thus, the surname was originally used for a constructor or repairer of roofs.... [more]
ROWETTEnglish English from a medieval personal name composed of the Germanic elements hrod ‘renown’ + wald ‘rule’, which was introduced into England by Scandinavian settlers in the form Róaldr, and again later by the Normans in the form Rohald or ROALD... [more]
ROWLEYEnglish Anglo Saxon Name- locational, comes from several places in England such as in Devonshire, Yorkshire, County Durham and Staffordshire. It means ' rough wood or clearing', from the Old English 'run' meaning rough and 'leah', meaning clearing in a wood.
ROWSONEnglish (British, Anglicized) The ancestors of the Rowson family first reached the shores of England in the wave of migration after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Their name is derived from the Norman given name Ralph. This name, which also occurs as Ralf, Rolf, and Raoul, is adapted from the Old French given name Raol.... [more]
RUDDEnglish The surname Rudd is derived from the Old English root "rud-," a component in the words "rudig," which means "ruddy," and "ruddoc," which means "red-breast." The surname was originally a nickname for a ruddy complexioned or red-haired person, or perhaps for someone who habitually wore the color red.
RUGBYEnglish From Rugby, Warwickshire. Originally named *Rocheberie, from Old English *Hrocaburg, 'Hroca's fort', the name was altered due to influence fort Danish settlers, with the second element being replaced with Old Norse byr, 'farm'.... [more]
RUGGEnglish Nickname for a person associated with the color red, whether through hair color, clothing, or complexion. Accordingly, the name is derived from the Old French word ruge, meaning red.
RULEScottish, English Scottish name from the lands of Rule in the parish of Hobkirk, Roxburghshire. The derivation is from the River Rule which flows through the area, and is so called from the ancient Welsh word "rhull" meaning "hasty or rushing".... [more]
RUMBELOWEnglish Means "person from Rumbelow", the name of various locations in England ("three mounds").
RUMBLEEnglish Descended from the personal name Rumbald/Rombold, which is composed of the Germanic elements hrom "fame, glory" and bald "bold, brave".
RUMPOLEEnglish A different form of Rumbold (from the Norman personal name Rumbald, of Germanic origin and probably meaning literally "fame-bold"). A fictional bearer of the surname is Horace Rumpole, the eccentric QC created by John Mortimer (originally for a 1975 television play).
RUNCIEEnglish, Scottish Derived from Latin runcinus, and related to the Old French "roncin", for a horse of little value. Middle English, Rouncy, as in Chaucer's Cantebury Tales.... [more]
RUTHEnglish, German (Swiss) English: from Middle English reuthe ‘pity’ (a derivative of rewen to pity, Old English hreowan) nickname for a charitable person or for a pitiable one. Not related to the given name in this case.... [more]
RUTTEREnglish Either (i) "player of the rote (a medieval stringed instrument played by plucking)"; or (ii) from a medieval nickname for a dishonest or untrustworthy person (from Old French routier "robber, mugger")... [more]
RYALLEnglish From any of several places in England named from Old English ryge "rye" + hyll "hill".
SAINTEnglish, French Nickname for a particularly pious individual, from Middle English, Old French saint, seint "holy" (Latin sanctus "blameless, holy"). The vocabulary word was occasionally used in the Middle Ages as a personal name, especially on the Continent, and this may have given rise to some instances of the surname.
SAIPEEnglish English: perhaps a habitational name from a minor place in Wiltshire named Stype.
SALEEnglish, French English: from Middle English sale ‘hall’, a topographic name for someone living at a hall or manor house, or a metonymic occupational name for someone employed at a hall or manor house. ... [more]
SALISBURYEnglish Habitational name from the city in Wiltshire, the Roman name of which was Sorviodunum (of British origin). In the Old English period the second element (from Celtic dun ‘fortress’) was dropped and Sorvio- (of unexplained meaning) became Searo- in Old English as the result of folk etymological association with Old English searu ‘armor’; to this an explanatory burh ‘fortress’, ‘manor’, ‘town’ was added... [more]
SANDELLEnglish Originated from a name for someone who lived on a sand hill
SANDEMANEnglish Scottish surname of famous merchant family engaged in banking in Scotland and London and in the Port Wine trade in London. The same family were earlier the founders of an obscure Protestant sect the Sandemanians.
SANDLEREnglish Norman origin. Habitational name from Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët in La Manche, which gets its name from the dedication of its church to St. Hilary, or alternatively from either of the places, in La Manche and Somme, called Saint-Lô... [more]
SARDEnglish, French, Spanish, Italian In the book "Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary by Henry Harrison and Gyda (Pulling) Harrison 1912 - Reprinted 1996.... The Sard surname (which has been in England, Italy and Europe for a long time) is defined thus on page 136...... [more]
SCARGILLEnglish This ancient surname is of Old Norse origin, and is a locational name from a place called Scargill in Northern Yorkshire, deriving from the Old Norse bird name "skraki", a diving duck, plus the Old Norse "gil", valley or ravine.
SCHADEGerman, Dutch, Scottish, English German and Dutch: from schade ‘damage’, a derivative of schaden ‘to do damage’, generally a nickname for a thug or clumsy person, or, more particularly, a robber knight, who raided others’ lands.... [more]
SCHRAMGerman, English, Yiddish Derived from German Schramme (Middle High German schram(me)) and Yiddish shram, all of which mean "scar".
SCOGINGSEnglish, Old Danish A surname of Scandinavian origin from the old Norse and old Danish by-name "Skeggi" or "skoggi", meaning 'the bearded one'. Common in areas invaded and settled by Scandinavians in the 8th and 9th Centuries.
SCOTFORDEnglish Derived from Scotforth, the name of a village near Lancaster (in Lancashire) in England. The village's name means "ford of the Scot(s)" and is derived from Old English Scott "Scot" combined with Old English ford "ford".
SCOTLANDEnglish (i) "person from Scotland"; (ii) "person from Scotland or Scotlandwell", Perth and Kinross; (iii) from the Norman personal name Escotland, literally "territory of the Scots"