The testing done by several members of our project shows that at least on subset of Ralstons from Renfrewshire have a very unique haplogroup – R-BY15421. At the moment we cannot tell which other families we might be connected with in Scotland, or even the whole of Great Britain and Ireland. The closest family as yet tested in FTDNA probably is possibly related to us in France up to 2000 years ago. And perhaps before that (2-4000 years ago) we were traders across the south of France between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean.
If you have R-M269 as your haplogroup then you may turn out to be part of this family origin.
The other haplogroup in our project is I-M223,which several have tested further and refined to I-L623. To date, all the members in this group appear to be fairly closely related, indicating a common ancestor within the genealogical time frame. Most of these matches have Northern Irish ties, but the family origin and location of the common ancestor is still uncertain.
It was apparently common in Northern Ireland for these Raulstons, Ralstons, Rolstons and Rollestons to adopt the “Roulston”spelling. For the present, the Roulston spelling does not provide any specificity, as several different lines apparently adopted that spelling.
With the financial support of some members, one member with I-M223 is being tested at Big Y level. The results are due later inOctober or November 2018. This much more in-depth genetic analysis will hopefully lead to a better understanding of where this haplogroup originateda nd if there are other families they are related to.
Useful Ralston resources
The following online reference represents one commonly repeated “origin myth” for the Surname Ralston. There may be a kernel of truth here, but we cannot be certain. If there was, indeed, a single male who originated the Surname Ralston (Roulstone), it is not at all guaranteed that any of us are descended from him. The episodes of bubonic plague around 1350 may have wiped out many family lines. Making it more likely that the few families from Scotland that carry variations of the Ralston surname took that name from the place or settlement called “Ralston” just to the East of Paisley, where the former Ralston Estate was located.
This interesting surname is of Scottish origin, and is locational from a place so called, near Paisley in Renfrewshire. The place name was called after the first owner, Ralph, a younger son of one of the earls of Fife and means "Ralph's settlement",derived from the Old Norse personal name, composed of the Germanic elements"rad", counsel advice, and "wolf", wolf, and the Old English pre 7th Century "tun", farm settlement; the personal name was introduced into Britain by Scandinavian settlers in the Old Norse form"Rathulfr", and was reinforced after the Conquest by the Norman form"Ra(d)ulf". The surname development since 1272 (see below) includes:Thomas de Raulfrestone (1296, Lanarkshire), Jacobus de Raulyston (1346,Paisley) and John Raleston (1488, Renfrewshire). The modern surname can be found as Ralston, Raleston(e) and Raulston(e). Among the recordings in Scotlandare the marriages of John Ralston and Janet Gibson on December 11th 1708 at Paisley, Renfrewshire, and of James Ralston and Elizabeth Allan on February 29th 1724, also at Paisley, Renfrewshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas de Ralstoun (witness), which was dated 1272, Register of the Monastery of Paisley, Scotland, during the reign of King Alexander 111 of Scotland, 1249 - 1286. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to"develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
WikiTree is a free resource that includes users tracking many Ralston lines: https://www.wikitree.com/genealogy/RALSTON
For those Ralstons who find that they are in Haplogroup R-M269, there are two online Ralston family trees that may be of interest. These two Ralston'slive on opposite sides of the globe, but are clearly related by yDNA. In fact, these Ralston families likely would not have known about each other without yDNA testing. Their family lines both track back through Kintyreand Ayrshire to Paisley in Renfrewshire. A third Ralston family line from Paisley is also part of this triad, whoowe their connection to FTDNA and yDNA testing.
From a New Zealand Ralston, who happens to be a professional genealogist: https://ralstondotfamily.wordpress.com/
From an American Ralston, who keeps a very nice website: http://www.ralstongenealogy.com/
The following book is from the “American Ralston” family mentioned above.
Saga of Our Kintyre Kin Second Edition Paperback 2013 by GraceRalston
“A brief social history of Scotland accompanied by the genealogical record of some of those who participated in the Plantation of the Lowland Lairds into Kintyre (mid 1600s) authorized by the Duke of Argyle and lead by William Ralston of that Ilk. Those included are the Ralstons, Greenlees, Breckenridges, McPhails, Browns, Wallaces, Howies, Andrewsand others. By the early 1800s, descendants began to emigrate to the United States (northern Illinois and Ohio), Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Grace Ralston and Florence Ralston Schnurr started with the intent to create a small family history, but it grew into much more. Originally published in 1984, this revision contains nearly 500, highly indexed pages.”
Available for sale on Amazon.
A list of books with the subject heading ‘Ralston family’ held in the Library of Congress https://catalog.loc.gov/vwebv/search?searchType=7&searchId=19711&maxResultsPerPage=25&recCount=25&recPointer=0&resultPointer=0&
===========================================History of Ayrshire==============
Start about page 264. This is the "classic" version of the Ralstons. We think that it is as accurate as was possible 170 years ago, but we will learn more with the yDNA testing.