History of your Surname
Get access to Ross family records.Start a free trial

Ross Family History

Ross Name Meaning

Scottish and English (of Norman origin): habitational name for someone from Rots near Caen in Normandy, probably named with the Germanic element rod ‘clearing’. Compare Rhodes. This was the original home of a family de Ros, who were established in Kent in 1130. Scottish and English: habitational name from any of various places called Ross or Roos(e), deriving the name from Welsh rhós ‘upland’ or moorland, or from a British ancestor of this word, which also had the sense ‘promontory’. This is the sense of the cognate Gaelic word ros. Known sources of the surname include Roos in Humberside (formerly in East Yorkshire) and the region of northern Scotland known as Ross. Other possible sources are Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire, Ross in Northumbria (which is on a promontory), and Roose in Lancashire English and German: from the Germanic personal name Rozzo, a short form of the various compound names with the first element hrod ‘renown’, introduced into England by the Normans in the form Roce. German and Jewish (Ashkenazic): metonymic occupational name for a breeder or keeper of horses, from Middle High German ros, German Ross ‘horse’; perhaps also a nickname for someone thought to resemble a horse or a habitational name for someone who lived at a house distinguished by the sign of a horse. Jewish: Americanized form of Rose 3.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press

Similar surnames: Rose, Roos, Moss, Oss, Cross, Russ, Gross, Rosa, Koss, Boss

Search for a relative to learn more about your family history.

Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

Black & white image of a young woman scientist

Where is the Ross family from?

You can see how Ross families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Ross family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Ross families were found in USA in 1880. In 1891 there were 2,194 Ross families living in London. This was about 20% of all the recorded Ross's in United Kingdom. London had the highest population of Ross families in 1891.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Ross surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Ross ancestors do for a living?

In 1939, General Labourer and Unpaid Domestic Duties were the top reported jobs for men and women in the United Kingdom named Ross. 8% of Ross men worked as a General Labourer and 65% of Ross women worked as an Unpaid Domestic Duties. Some less common occupations for Americans named Ross were Builders Labourer and Housewife. .

View Census Data for Ross | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations In 1939

  • General Labourer
  • Incapacitated
  • Retired
  • Builders Labourer

Top Female Occupations In 1939

  • Unpaid Domestic Duties
  • Private Means
  • Unpaid Domestic
  • Housewife
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Ross family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 1 million census records available for the last name Ross. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Ross census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search Australian census records for Ross

Passenger Lists

There are 246,000 immigration records available for the last name Ross. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Australia, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all Ross immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 267,000 military records available for the last name Ross. For the veterans among your Ross ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Ross military records

You've only scratched the surface of Ross family history

Discover More

What is the average Ross lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, Ross life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1940, and highest in 2004. The average life expectancy for Ross in 1940 was 33, and 75 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Ross

Discover the unique achievements of ancestors in the Ross family tree

Explore Your Tree
Search for another surname
Start a 14-Day Free Trial