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Ross Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: SPEM SUCCESSUS ALIT (Success Nourishes Hope)

Allow me to narrate the riveting history of your family, the Rosses, a tale steeped in Gaelic heritage and noble deeds. In the Gaelic tongue, a ‘ros’ signifies a promontory, akin to the fertile land that stretches between the Cromarty and Dornoch Firths. Your family name has been borne by none other than the Earls of Ross, and the origins trace back to Fearchar Mac an t-Sagairt, who also bestowed the MacTaggart surname upon your lineage. It is believed that this illustrious ancestor established a bond with the Irish kin of O’Beolan.

Your family’s legacy was intertwined with Scottish history in a defining way. In the year 1214, Alexander II marched north with his forces to quell the rebellion led by the son of Donald Bane, a contender for the throne. The chief of Clan Ross, Fearchar, lent his support to the king’s cause. In English, he came to be known as the ‘son of the priest,’ possibly due to his hereditary role as the keeper of St. Duchac’s shrine at Tain. In recognition of his loyalty, Fearchar was knighted and, by 1234, he was formally granted the title of Earl of Ross. His son, William, secured land grants in Skye and Lewis, adding to your family’s influence.

The Rosses remained pivotal figures in Scottish affairs. William, the Earl of Ross, found himself in the hands of the English in 1306. His commitment to duty led him to surrender King Robert’s wife and daughter, who had sought sanctuary at the shrine of St. Duthac in Tain. The last chief to hold the esteemed earldom was yet another William, who passed away in 1372. His sole daughter, Euphemia, claimed the title of Countess of Ross, though it eventually returned to the Crown’s possession. The chiefship, however, found its rightful heir in William’s half-brother, Hugh of Balnagowan.

Your family’s legacy also includes valor displayed in tumultuous times. During the War of the Three Kingdoms, David, the twelfth chief, led nearly a thousand of your clansmen into the fray against Oliver Cromwell’s forces at the Battle of Worcester. Despite their courage, the royalists faced defeat, and both Ross and his men were taken captive. The chief himself was confined in the Tower of London, where he passed away in 1653. This marked the beginning of a challenging period for your family, as many clansmen were exiled to the colonies.

The story takes a triumphant turn when, in 1903, Miss Ross of Pitcalnie restored the undifferenced chiefly arms, thereby reclaiming the true lineage. In 1999, David Ross earned recognition from the Lord Lyon as ‘Ross of Ross and Balnagowan,’ solidifying the family’s esteemed place in history. The lineage boasts distinguished figures, such as Sir Ronald Ross of Shandwick, a pioneering figure in modern medicine who unlocked the secrets of malaria and received the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1902.

Your family, the Rosses, has weathered challenges, upheld honor, and contributed to the world in remarkable ways. As you reflect on your heritage, remember the indomitable spirit that courses through your veins, connecting you to a lineage rich in legacy and accomplishment.

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The Family Crest

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Family Crest Motto: SPEM SUCCESSUS ALIT (Success Nourishes Hope)

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