Origin and History of the Name Rutherford

Table of Contents:
Introduction and Disclaimer
Brief Quiz
Origins of Surnames
Origin of the Name Rutherford
History of the Meaning of the Rutherford Name
300 Spellings of the Name
What is a clan?
History of the clan system
What is a sept?
The History of the Rutherford Clan and Sept
Various related resources


This page is a long-overdue archive of internet research I did for a class I taught last summer for my family reunion. "Class?", you say. Yes, my family did classes and it was very interesting. Everyone who had something to say taught something. Well, OK, we were a little selective, for time. But I must say, my family has a lot of intelligent people who contributed a lot to the family reunion 2004. At any rate, my class was on the origin and history of the name Rutherford. I promised I would make my resources available, and here I am, a year later, finally getting around to it. Enjoy. However, a couple disclaimers:

First off, I make no claim to actually knowing the origin of the name Rutherford. What I can say is that I have read a bunch of stuff from off the web that sounded good. If anyone knows of further information, feel free to share. Secondly, I make no representation that this is my own work. Other people on the web have done some hard work writing this stuff up and it sounds authentic. I am happy to give credit where credit is due. Links will be provided next to any information not my own. My contribution to this page will be minimal, but that's OK. I encourage anyone reading this to visit the same sources I did. All I do here is paraphrase and quote others. Think of this as a compilation made for my family of other people's work, people more knowledgeable than I am. Much of the material is taken directly from the handouts that I made last July, but I added some new commentary, as well.


Here is a brief quiz. Can you get all the answers right? The answers will be provided in the following pages.

From where do last names come? Choose all that apply.
•  Occupation
•  Location
•  Progenitors (ancestors)
•  Personal characteristics
•  Assigned during immigration
•  Chosen to distinguish one's self
•  Religious devotions
•  All of the above
•  Somewhere else

Which countries have the greatest variety of last names?
•  Russia and Canada
•  The United States and England
•  India and Canada
•  Brazil and the United States
•  Russia and Brazil
•  The United States and Canada
•  Australia and The United States

Specifically, the Rutherford surname was taken from what?
•  a form of the old Celtic word for metal smelting
•  a battle against England
•  a town in Scotland
•  a Scottish Lord named Ruther
•  a cattle crossing in the lowlands of Scotland

The Rutherford name means
•  Rue the Ford
•  Red Ford
•  Ruther's Ford
•  The fort of Ruther
•  Cattle crossing
•  Ruddy (as in complexion) Ford
•  All of the above
•  None of the above
•  unknown

The Rutherford Sept is a part of which clan?
•  Anderson
•  Baird
•  Home
•  MacGregor
•  Robertson

The Rutherford clan has been a sept of the above named clan for about how many years?
•  200 years
•  500 years
•  700 years
•  1000 years

The Rutherford Motto is Nec sorte Nec Fato. Translated from Celtic, this means:
•  Neither by Fate, nor by chance
•  Never give in, never give up
•  The fight is only won by fighting
•  Beware of false neighbors
•  For truth and for justice
•  Not by fate by which we fall
•  Never trust the English

The Rutherford clan is known to have existed at least as early as which century?
•  8 th century
•  10 th century
•  12 th century
•  14 th century

The earliest recorded use of the name was approximately when?
•  400 BC
•  300 BC
•  200 BC
•  200 AD
•  450 AD
•  900 AD

Continue to second page > >

external links