What is the origin of the last name Rutledge?

The last name Rutledge is of English origin and derives from the Old English personal name "Rut(e)leah," meaning "the red pasture" or "the clearing with red soil." This name likely referred to a geographical location with red soil or a place where red-colored plants grew. Over time, Rutledge evolved into a surname and has been borne by various families, particularly in England and Ireland.

Countries of origin for the last name Rutledge

The last name “Rutledge” is a surname of English and Scottish origin. It is a topographic name, derived from the Middle English word “rutelage,” meaning “a clearing of the forest.” This suggests that the original bearers of this name may have lived near a clearing or open space in a forested area.

One possible origin of the name Rutledge is from the Old Norse personal name “Hrollaugr,” which was brought to England by Viking invaders in the pre-9th century. Over time, this name may have evolved into “Rolla” or “Roul,” which eventually became “Ruttle” and then “Rutledge.”

The surname Rutledge is found throughout the United States, particularly in the Southern states. This distribution pattern indicates that the name likely arrived in America with early English and Scottish settlers, who then passed it down through generations.

Notable individuals with the last name Rutledge include John Rutledge, who was an American politician and judge. He served as the Governor of South Carolina and was also one of the signers of the U.S. Constitution. Another notable figure is Edward Rutledge, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Genealogical research can provide valuable insights into one’s family history and origins. By exploring records such as birth certificates, census data, and immigration documents, individuals with the surname Rutledge can trace their ancestral roots and uncover their unique family heritage.

The etymology of the last name Rutledge demonstrates its connection to nature and geographic features. The original meaning of “a clearing of the forest” hints at a possible ancestral occupation or association with forestry or agriculture.

While the known facts about the last name Rutledge provide a solid foundation for understanding its origins, there are still unanswered questions and possibilities that may arise from further research and exploration. Delving deeper into historical records and conducting DNA analysis can potentially reveal more intricate details about the migration patterns and family connections of those who bear the Rutledge surname.

Interesting facts about the last name Rutledge

  • The surname Rutledge is of Scottish origin.
  • It is believed to be a locational surname, derived from the place name “Rettrew, Reitrig”, which is located in the former county of Berwickshire in Scotland.
  • The name Rutledge may also have derived from the Gaelic term “ruadhag,” meaning “red-haired.”
  • The surname has multiple variations, including Rutlidge, Rutlach, Ruitlige, and Rottlidge.
  • During the 18th century, many individuals with the surname Rutledge immigrated to the American colonies, particularly to South Carolina.
  • One of the most notable individuals with the surname Rutledge is John Rutledge, who was an influential figure in the American Revolution and served as the first Governor of South Carolina.
  • Another well-known figure with the surname Rutledge is Edward Rutledge, who was one of the signers of the United States Declaration of Independence.
  • The Rutledge family has a long history in the legal field, with many members serving as judges, attorneys, and legal scholars.
  • Over the years, the surname Rutledge has spread beyond Scotland and the United States, with individuals bearing the name found in various parts of the world.
  • The surname Rutledge continues to be relatively common, with numerous individuals carrying the name today.

Name Rank


There are around 26887 people with the last name Rutledge in the US

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