Ralston last name popularity, history, and meaning

Find out how popular the last name Ralston is in the United States and learn more about the meaning, history, and race and ethnic origin of people in America who are named Ralston.

Meaning of Ralston

A Scottish habitational surname derived from a place name meaning "town at the lands of Ralph."

Ralston, like all of the last names we have data for, is identified by the U.S. Census Bureau as a surname which has more than 100 occurrences in the United States in the Decennial Census survey. The most recent statistics we have for the Ralston surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Ralston in America

Ralston is the 2914th most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Ralston surname appeared 12,302 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 4 people would have the surname Ralston.

We can also compare 2010 data for Ralston to data from the previous census in 2000. The table below contains all of the statistics for both years in a side-by-side comparison.

2010 2000 Change (%)
Rank 2914 2743 6.05%
Count 12,302 12,076 1.85%
Proportion per 100k 4.17 4.48 -7.17%

The history of the last name Ralston

The surname Ralston has its origins in Scotland, where it first appeared in the 12th century. The name is derived from the Old English words "rad," meaning red, and "tun," meaning town or settlement, indicating that the original bearers of the name likely hailed from a town or village with reddish soil.

One of the earliest recorded instances of the Ralston name can be found in the Ragman Rolls of 1296, a collection of homage pledges made to King Edward I of England by Scottish nobility and landowners. The entry "Johannes de Ralstoun" suggests that the name was already well-established by the late 13th century.

Throughout the medieval period, the Ralston family held lands in Renfrewshire, Scotland, and the name is often associated with the village of Ralston, located near Paisley. The earliest known ancestor was Sir John de Ralston, who lived in the 13th century and was a prominent landowner and knight.

In the 16th century, the Ralstons played a significant role in the Scottish Reformation, with several members of the family becoming prominent Protestants. One notable figure was William Ralston (1526-1578), a minister and reformer who was a close associate of John Knox.

Another notable Ralston was Robert Ralston (1761-1836), a Scottish-born merchant and philanthropist who established the Ralston Family Trust to support education and charitable causes. He was also a member of the Council of the City of Philadelphia and a prominent figure in the early history of the United States.

In the 19th century, the name gained recognition through the works of William Ralston Shedden-Ralston (1828-1889), a British scholar and orientalist who wrote extensively on the folklore and literature of Russia and Central Asia. He is considered a pioneer in the field of Russian studies in the English-speaking world.

Other notable individuals bearing the Ralston surname include:

  1. William Ralston (1828-1889), a Scottish-American banker and entrepreneur who played a crucial role in the development of San Francisco in the late 19th century.
  2. Samuel Ralston (1756-1851), an American Presbyterian minister and educator who served as the first principal of the Dickinson College Grammar School in Pennsylvania.
  3. Archibald Ralston (1836-1915), a Scottish-born American lawyer and politician who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.
  4. Robert Ralston (1930-2019), an American actor best known for his role as a police officer in the film "Bullitt" (1968).
  5. Erin Ralston (born 1979), an American professional golfer who has won multiple tournaments on the LPGA Tour.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Ralston

We also have some data on the ancestry of people with the surname Ralston.

The below race categories are the modified race categories used in the Census Bureau's population estimates program. All people were categorized into six mutually exclusive racial and Hispanic origin groups:

  1. White only
  2. Black only
  3. American Indian and Alaskan Native only
  4. Asian and Pacific Islander only
  5. Hispanic
  6. Two or More Races

For the most recent 2010 census data, the race/ethnic origin breakdown for Ralston was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 90.60% 11,146
Non-Hispanic Black Only 3.60% 443
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 0.67% 82
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.88% 108
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 1.71% 210
Hispanic Origin 2.54% 312

Note: Any fields showing (S) means the data was suppressed for privacy so that the data does not in any way identify any specific individuals.

Since we have data from the previous census in 2000, we can also compare the values to see how the popularity of Ralston has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 90.60% 92.70% -2.29%
Black 3.60% 3.06% 16.22%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.67% 0.59% 12.70%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.88% 0.70% 22.78%
Two or More Races 1.71% 1.29% 28.00%
Hispanic 2.54% 1.66% 41.90%

Data source

The last name data and ethnic breakdown of last names is sourced directly from the Decennial Census survey, conducted every 10 years by the United States Census Bureau.

The history and meaning of the name Ralston was researched and written by our team of onomatology and genealogy experts.

If you have a correction or suggestion to improve the history of Ralston, please contact us.

Reference this page

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If you found the data or information on this page useful in your research, please use the tool below to properly cite or reference Name Census as the source. We appreciate your support!

"Ralston last name popularity, history, and meaning". NameCensus.com. Accessed on July 14, 2024. http://namecensus.com/last-names/ralston-surname-popularity/.

"Ralston last name popularity, history, and meaning". NameCensus.com, http://namecensus.com/last-names/ralston-surname-popularity/. Accessed 14 July, 2024

Ralston last name popularity, history, and meaning. NameCensus.com. Retrieved from http://namecensus.com/last-names/ralston-surname-popularity/.

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