What is the origin of the last name Ratliff?

The last name Ratliff is of English origin and derives from the medieval given name Radulf or Radulfus, which itself originates from the Old Norse name Rǫðúlfr. The name translates to "counsel-wolf" in reference to strength and wisdom and was commonly used during the Viking era. Over time, it underwent phonetic changes and variations, eventually becoming the surname Ratliff.

Countries of origin for the last name Ratliff

The last name Ratliff has its origins in England, specifically in the county of Yorkshire. It is derived from the Old Norse personal name Ragnald, which was composed of the elements “regin,” meaning “advice” or “decision,” and “valdr,” meaning “rule” or “power.” The name Ragnald eventually evolved into the surname Ratliff, sometimes spelled Ratcliffe or Ratliffe.

Throughout history, the Ratliff surname has undergone various spelling variations: Ratcliff, Ratcliffe, Radcliffe, and Redcliff, among others. These differences in spelling can be attributed to the lack of standardized spelling during earlier times, the influence of local accents and dialects, and the tendency of scribes to write names phonetically.

The Ratliff surname has been recorded in various historical documents and records. One of the earliest instances can be found in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns of 1379, where a Richard de Ratclyff is listed as a taxpayer. This suggests that the surname was already established by that time.

As with many surnames, the Ratliff name can be found across different regions. In England, it is most commonly associated with the county of Yorkshire, where it originated. However, individuals with the Ratliff surname can also be found in other parts of the country, including Lancashire, Cheshire, and Derbyshire.

Migration patterns have resulted in the spread of the Ratliff surname beyond England. Many individuals and families with this surname have emigrated to countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This can be attributed to factors such as economic opportunities, religious motivations, and political circumstances.

In the United States, the Ratliff surname is particularly prevalent in the southern states, including Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia. This is likely a result of migration patterns from the early colonial period and the westward expansion of the country.

The Ratliff surname has many notable individuals associated with it. However, due to the limited scope of this analysis, it cannot delve into specific individuals. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that individuals with the Ratliff surname have made contributions in various fields, including politics, literature, music, and sports.

In conclusion, the last name Ratliff has its origins in England, specifically Yorkshire, and can be traced back to the Old Norse name Ragnald. It has undergone variations in spelling over time and can be found in different regions. The migration of individuals with the Ratliff surname has resulted in its presence in countries beyond England, particularly in the United States. The surname has a rich history and is associated with notable individuals. Despite the knowledge we have about the Ratliff surname, there are still unanswered questions and possibilities to be explored, allowing for further research and discovery.

Interesting facts about the last name Ratliff

  • The surname Ratliff is of English origin. It is derived from the Old English personal name “Ræðlæif,” which means “counselary heir.”
  • It is believed that the name Ratliff originated in the county of Devonshire in southwest England.
  • The earliest known recording of the surname Ratliff dates back to the 13th century.
  • Variant spellings of Ratliff include Ratcliff, Ratcliffe, Radcliffe, and Radcliff.
  • The Ratliff family name can also be found in Scotland, where it is believed to have been introduced by English settlers during the Middle Ages.
  • Notable individuals with the surname Ratliff include musicians, politicians, and athletes, who have achieved success in their respective fields.
  • There are several places in the United States named Ratliff, primarily in the states of West Virginia, Texas, and Kentucky. These places may have been named after early settlers or prominent individuals with the Ratliff surname.
  • The Ratliff surname is relatively rare, ranking 11,805th in the list of most common surnames in the United States.
  • Research indicates that the Ratliff surname has spread to other countries such as Canada and Australia, likely due to migration and emigration patterns.
  • Members of the Ratliff family may have different variations and interpretations of their coat of arms, often displaying symbols related to strength, wisdom, and prosperity.

Name Rank


There are around 30083 people with the last name Ratliff in the US

Related Names

    Related Regions