Rutherford Surname Meaning & Statistics

8,765th most common

surname in the world

Approximately 61,649

people bear this surname

Most prevelant in:

United States

Highest density in:



This, the name of an ancient and once powerful Border family, is of territorial origin from the lands of Rutherford in the parish of Maxton, Roxburghshire. In the reigns of William the Lion and Alexander II we meet with the names of Gregory and Nicholas de Rutherford or Rutheford (Melros, p.

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Rutherford Surname Distribution

CountryIncidenceFrequencyRank in Nation
United States32,4381: 9,8731,182
England9,2921: 5,811780
Canada4,9901: 7,1001,018
Australia3,8101: 6,185800
South Africa2,4471: 22,0692,649
Scotland2,2511: 2,355375
New Zealand1,5861: 2,867387
Germany5041: 160,15120,699
Northern Ireland5011: 3,593652
Ghana3991: 67,7776,557
Philippines3871: 258,65330,822
Mexico3141: 381,25213,215
France2691: 245,20137,175
Jamaica2501: 10,8721,197
Guyana2421: 3,243601
Wales2371: 13,0801,678
Ireland2241: 20,5052,105
Argentina1641: 260,18031,005
Brazil1591: 1,276,76760,164
Hong Kong1421: 50,8431,698
The Bahamas1391: 2,528321
Botswana1251: 16,1993,083
United Arab Emirates991: 95,4149,684
Spain901: 516,75328,433
Chile811: 219,42011,021
Singapore651: 83,0654,855
Switzerland541: 151,12819,965
Norway461: 111,40015,525
Belgium451: 248,93533,012
Zimbabwe381: 343,71733,176
Sweden361: 269,28326,164
Russia311: 4,711,884257,310
Denmark301: 187,99117,489
Netherlands271: 624,58557,220
Thailand241: 2,685,6963,873
Trinidad and Tobago111: 120,7297,643
Costa Rica101: 466,7105,049
China51: 273,238,0008,438
Indonesia51: 50,432,960607,991
Czech Republic41: 2,629,350114,007
Belarus41: 2,367,300122,390
South Korea41: 12,605,9892,011
Japan41: 31,775,00011,480
Vietnam41: 22,427,2252,403
Turkey31: 25,555,95535,789
Nigeria31: 59,505,66732,695
Kuwait31: 1,021,9507,294
Italy31: 20,254,107108,034
Cameroon31: 6,795,6008,926
Afghanistan21: 13,011,5504,367
Peru21: 15,407,08824,269
Benin21: 4,994,0344,302
Angola21: 9,591,7954,086
India21: 624,010,0001,500,361
Zambia21: 7,511,6585,217
Egypt21: 43,491,90018,035
Macau21: 307,250883
Isle of Man21: 43,0001,118
Malaysia21: 15,116,50026,123
Fiji21: 429,0192,151
Cyprus11: 865,87810,683
Senegal11: 12,873,60113,606
Serbia11: 7,146,75937,779
Guatemala11: 15,806,6757,941
Suriname11: 534,1893,243
Jersey11: 99,0003,071
Malta11: 416,0553,307
El Salvador11: 6,401,2403,993
Kenya11: 45,546,00028,365
Kazakhstan11: 17,285,000199,150
Jordan11: 6,619,17014,373
Panama11: 3,405,8139,591
Greece11: 11,123,03442,479
Poland11: 38,496,00058,885
Cuba11: 11,167,3252,877
Saint Lucia11: 180,0001,421
Uganda11: 35,357,00013,447
Bermuda11: 64,2372,374
Romania11: 19,942,64236,814
Grenada11: 103,3281,970
Qatar11: 2,174,03524,176
Puerto Rico11: 3,615,0868,828
Moldova11: 3,557,60090,903
Ukraine11: 42,825,883492,292
Antigua and Barbuda11: 86,2951,176
CountryIncidenceFrequencyRank in Nation
Ireland6731: 6,5821,044
CountryIncidenceFrequencyRank in Nation
England4,4401: 5,490837
Scotland2,8711: 1,304234
Wales201: 78,4213,652
Isle of Man71: 7,753762
CountryIncidenceFrequencyRank in Nation
United States6,7341: 7,457944
PlaceIncidenceFrequencyRank in Area
1: {{groupThousands( v.ratio )}}

Rutherford Surname Meaning

Descriptive Writing for introductory reference

This, the name of an ancient and once powerful Border family, is of territorial origin from the lands of Rutherford in the parish of Maxton, Roxburghshire. In the reigns of William the Lion and Alexander II we meet with the names of Gregory and Nicholas de Rutherford or Rutheford (Melros, p. 75, 76 77, etc.). In the reign of Alexander m (1249-1285) several others of the surname appear, among them being Sir Richard, lord of Rotherford (ibid., p. 295, etc.; Kelso; REG., 174). William de Rwthirford, a cleric, witnessed a charter by Henry de Grahame, a. 1200 (RHM., p. 3), and c. 1215 Huwe de Ruwerfort witnessed a charter of Philip de Valoniis (Panmure, II, 124). Nicolas de Rotherford witnessed a quitclaim by Malcolm de Constabletun and Alicia, his wife, of a carucate of Edulfistun (now Eddleston) to the Church of Glasgow in 1260 (REG., p. 176), and he also appears several times as a charter witness in the Kelso chartulary between 1270 and 1297 (Kelso, 174,305, 308). He is probably the Nicholas de Rothirford, knight, who rendered homage at Montrose in 1296, in which year also Margarete la fielle Nicol de Rotherforde also rendered homage for her lands (Bain. II, p. 181,207). An Aymer de Rotherford of the county of Roxburghe also rendered homage for his lands in the same year, as also did Mestre William de Rotherforde, persone of the church of Lillesclyve. The seal of the former bears an eagle displayed and the legend S' Aimeri de Rotherford, and that of the latter bears a wild bull's head cabossed, a human head between the horns, and the legend S' Will'mi de Rothirford (ibid., p. 199,202, 532,558). Eva and Margery de Rotherforde, heirs of "Monsire Nichol de Rotherforde chivaler Descose," their grandfather, petitioned for seisin of the annual rent of the mills of Doddingestone in Northumberland in 1306 (ibid., 1879). Richard de Rotherford witnessed a charter of Sirildis Saddeler, c 1330 (Kelso, 491), and in 1354 William de Rotherford, dominus ejusdem, appears in the same record (496—500). William of Rotherford and Nicholas of Rothersford were jurors on an inquisition held at Roxburgh in 1361 (Sain, IV, 61, 62), and Sir Richard of Rotherfurde, knight, was one of the 'borowis' for the earl of Douglas's bounds on the middle march, 1398 (Bain, IV, 510). Richard Ritherford was admitted burgess of Aberdeen in 1411 (NSCM., I, p. 4), and George de Rutherfurde witnessed a charter of Archibald fourth earl of Douglas, c. 1413 (Home, 18). James Ruthyrfurd and Nicholas Ruthyrfurde were two of the thirty Scottish conservators of the truce between Scotland and England in 1451 (Bain, IV, 1239). In the edition o Samuel Rutherford's Examen Arminianismi, published at Utrecht in 1668, his name is transformed into Rhetorfortis, and by his continental contemporaries further changed to Retorfortis. Among the Scots settlers in Prussia in 1644 the name appears as Ritterfart. Routherfurd 1338, Rudderfoord 1654, Ruderford 1581, Ruderfourd 1530, Ruderfurd 1545, Ruderfurde 1574, Rudirfurd and Ruthyfurd 1544, Rutherfurd 1436, Ruyerfurd 1589, Ruyrfuird 1592, Rwtherforde 1464, Rwtherfurd 1584, Rwthirfurde 1426, Ruddyrfurd (in Inverness). Daniel Rutherford (1749-1819), scientist, discoverer of nitrogen, was born in Edinburgh. Much nonsense has been written by amateur philologists about the origin of the place name, w ich is simply Old English hrythera ford, cattle ford, the ford of the cattle. In Old English hryther or hrither has the meaning of "homed cattle."

The Surnames of Scotland (1946) by George Fraser Black (1866-1948)

RUTHERFURD: An extinct parish in co. Roxburgh. This ancient family have a tradition that their founder, a man of distinction on the Border, having conducted Ruther, King of the Scots, safely through the river Tweed, on an expedition against the South, at a place called from that event, Rutherfurd, the monarch rewarded his faithful guide with lands adjacent to the place, afterwards known as the barony of Rutherfurd. The authentic history of the family commences with Robert, Dominus de Rutherfurd, witness to a charter of David I., in 1140. The family continued to reside at Rutherfurd until the last century, and the present head of the house, though resident at Edgerston, still writes himself Rutherfurd of that Ilk.

Patronymica Britannica, written: 1838-1860 by Mark Antony Lower

Rutherford is the name of an ancient border clan seated for many centuries at Rutherford in Roxburghshire (L.). The Rutherfords are still well represented in the Scottish border - counties.

Homes of Family Names in Great Britain (1890) by Henry Brougham Guppy

Local. From the lands of Rutherford on the river Tweed, in the parish of Maxton, Roxburgshire, Scotland. The name is derived from the Welsh Ruthr, rushing, swift, and fford, a ford or way.

An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names (1857) by William Arthur

Local: from the lands of Rutherford in Roxburghshire. The family are descended from Sir Richard de Ruthirfurde, 1390.

The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames (1862) by Clifford Stanley Sims (1839-1896)

Rutherford Surname Variants & Similar Names

Rutherford Variants


Rutherford Reference & Research

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    • Description: Descriptions are largely reproduced from 3rd party sources; diligence is advised on accepting their validity
    • Incidence: The approximate number of people in a given area who bear the surname
    • Frequency: The percentage of people in a given area that bear the surname
    • Rank: Surnames are ranked by incidence using the dense ranking method; the surname that occurs the most is assigned a rank of 1; surnames that occur less frequently receive an incremented rank; if two or more surnames occur the same number of times they are assigned the same rank and preceding rank is incremented by 1
    • Variants: Surnames listed in the 'Rutherford Variants' section are variant forms of the same root surname according to either sources listed on the page or Forebears
    • Similar: Surnames listed in the 'Similar Surnames' section are phonetically similar and may not have any relation to Rutherford