One of the most popular hobbies in the world is that of
tracing one's ancestry and this certainly applies to person's with
a Rattray connection.
Surname usage started around 1400. The first surnames were
based on such things as place of residence, occupation, physical
characteristics, nicknames, skin color, etc. Of these, the first is
especially important here as many with the surname Rattray were
from the Parish, town or district of Rattray.
While "Rattray" is the commonest surname spelling at the present
time, the early records have many variants including, in
alphabetical order, the following 48: Rateree, Raterree, Ratery,
Rathtreff, Ratie, Ratiree, Ratra, Ratray, Ratree, Ratref, Ratrey,
Ratri, Ratrie, Ratry, Rattar, Rattaree, Rattarree, Rattaray,
Rattarey, Rattarie, Rattary, Ratter, Ratteray, Ratterree, Rattery,
Rattie, Rattley, Rattory, Rattra, Rattray, Rattre, Rattree,
Rattrey, Rattrie, Rattrix, Rattroy, Rattry, Reatraye, Rhetory,
Rothrea, Rothtref, Rothria, Rotref, Rotry, Rottery, Rottrey, Rottry
and Ruttery. The variances often depended on the way a particular
cleric, or legal person, spelled the name based on the way he heard
The first recorded person in the Rattray Laird line was Alanus
de Ratheriff, born abt 1165. Except in the case of persons of note,
very little genealogical information is available prior to 1500.
The best early sources are peerage books and legal documents.
Established churches recording vital records, especially baptism,
marriage and burial dates, in their Registers. The latter can be
especially helpful if available. Civil registries started after
1850 and continue up to the present. Obituaries can often be found
in newspapers published in the last 100 years.
The Clan Rattray Society has been especially interested in
helping its members and adherents trace their Rattray connections.
Information has been gathered informally for over 50 years and
stored in The Clan Rattray Database for over 20 years. As of April,
2011, the Database contained information on around 48,000
individuals with a Rattray connection. The Database runs with
Personal Ancestral File (PAF) 5.2.18 software which is available as
a free download at htt://www.familysearch.org/. One of the features
of this software is that one is able to add detailed notes on a
particular individual. This feature is used extensively to record
information that has come to hand and to record its source. The
Database, thus, differs from the majority of family tree
information that is available online as sources are very seldom
given elsewhere. The Database information is specifically for the
use of those that have a Rattray link. It is not online and is not
uploaded as it is very much a work-in-progress, also because some
may wish certain details be kept private. Searches and reports
continue to be made upon request but with the proviso that the
resulting information should not be published or uploaded without
the permission of those that have contributed. It is always
important to remember that one should not take everything that is
in print as being the gospel truth. Also, it is tempting to grab
ancestors from family trees that are available online but these
trees frequently contain errors and corrections are seldom
The Database was put together, and is maintained, by the
Clan Rattray Society Genealogist Dr. Charles Bird. He can be
reached by post at Box 22, Erskine, Alberta, T0C 1G0, Canada; by
email at firstname.lastname@example.org
; or by phone at 1-403-742-0626. No charge is
made for the help and reports that are prepared for various folks.
It should always be remembered, however, that other projects are
underway and that it may not be possible to respond quickly to
If you would like to learn more about your Rattray line
contact me as above. I will need to know the earliest Rattray that
you know you are descended from and then details of your line down
to the present. Full names, plus dates and places of birth,
marriage and death are especially helpful in identifying
individuals in The Clan Rattray Database.