The ancient family of Ramsay is of Anglo-Norman origin. Simundus de Ramesia was the first of the name to appear on record in Scotland. Originally from Huntingdonshire in England, he received lands in Lothian from David I and in 1140 witnessed a charter to the monks at Holyrood. He was founder of the main line and the first Ramsay to acquire land at Dalwolsey.
Sir William Ramsay de Dalwolsey, signed the Ragman Roll in 1296, and joined the forces of Sir Robert Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. He signed the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320 asserting the independence of Scotland to the Pope.
In August 1618, the family received Royal recognition when Sir George Ramsay was created a Lord of Parliament by the title of Lord Ramsay of Melrose, which he later had changed to Lord Ramsay of Dalhousie.
William Ramsay, 5th Earl of Dalhousie, was a military officer with the rank of Brigadier
The 9th Earl of Dalhousie, General George Ramsay, played a prominent role in Canada in the early 19th century. He established Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and also founded the City of Ottawa.
James Ramsay, the 17th Earl of Dalhousie is the Chief of the Clan Ramsay.
The Ramsays have not only contributed to the glories of Scotland, but many members of the family emigrated to North America where they and their heirs played prominent roles in establishing the United States and Canada.
In 1735, the name Capt. James Ramsay appeared on a record in Baltimore, Maryland. It is believed that his line of the family extends back to a Scottish Sir James de Ramsay of Dalhousie. The city of Alexandria, Virginia was founded by a Scottish merchant named William Ramsay in 1749. He belonged to the ancient house of Dalhousie and many of his descendants still live in Alexandria.
Both sons of James and Jane Montgomery Ramsay of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, proved to be exceptional men of character. Nathaniel, born in 1741, was an army officer and a Continental congressman from Maryland. He served at the Battle of Long Island in 1776 and at the Battle of Monmouth in 1778. His brother, David, born in 1749, was a Continental Congressman, physician and historian from South Carolina. David was later a member of the South Carolina Senate for three terms.
Many members of the family were active during the War Between the States. Thomas Ramsay was a Union soldier from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Robert, another Thomas, and Charles Ramsey were all Confederate brothers from New Hanover County, North Carolina. Captain John Andrew Ramsay commanded the Rowan Artillery and fought with General Lee in the Army of Northern Virginia.
In July 1964, Dr. Carl C. Bailey, Jr., visited the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and inquired as to the location of the Clan Ramsay tent. There was no Clan Ramsay tent and the Council of Scottish Clans determined that there was no Ramsay organization in existence. In 1975, 1976, and 1977, the Bailey family returned to the Highland Games and rented a tent individually that was labeled Clan Ramsay. During these years, contacts were made with the Earl of Dalhousie, who authorized Dr. Bailey to become Convener of Clan Ramsay who then proceeded with the organization of Clan Ramsay in North America. Clan Ramsay now has active members worldwide with Commissioners in many states and Canada, France, Switzerland, Luxemburg and Belgium.
To reflect the increasing number of members from other countries around the world, "Clan Ramsay International" was proposed at the annual general meeting in Colorado in September 2016. It became effective November 29, 2016.