People with the surname Routledge, and its numerous variant spellings are first found in historical records living along the Anglo Scottish border, territories that frequently passed back and forth between Scottish and English monarchs during the 13th to 16th centuries. Subject to intermittent warfare, violent religious reforms, periods of famine and pestilence, border inhabitants survived by a take-as-take-can credo. The term Border Reiver (raider) characterized about 75 surnames, Routledge included, that engaged in livestock rustling as normal activity until the two countries united under King James circa 1603. By that time, international trade and immigration had begun in earnest with rival European powers establishing colonies all around the globe, prompting thousands of immigrants to leave their homelands for a variety of reasons. Some sought religious, social, or political freedom. Some sought land, opportunity, and prosperity. Some sought adventure and fame in military exploits. Thus, the Routledge, Rutledge surnames (and numerous variant spellings) appear in early Irish, French, Spanish and American records, and later on, in every New World country from Australia to Zimbabwe.
Who do you think you are? Quite likely, your ancestors were related to the Border Reiver Routledges during the 15th/16th centuries. But who and where were they before and after those tumultuous times? Did your prehistoric ancestors stem from some ancient Scottish clan? Irish or Welsh Gaels? Vikings? Anglo-Saxons? Did your direct ancestors serve as yeoman (military service in lieu of rent) tenants on large manorial estates? Were your ancestors among the New World colonizers of the 17/18th centuries? Are you related to the revolutionary Rutledges of Ireland, France, and America? Were your ancestors active in 19th-century social reforms spawned by the industrial revolution?
Answering these questions in conjunction with traditional genealogy research is the purpose of this Y-DNA project.
- John D Rutledge: The Rutledge Family Association Website. A very active website during the late 1990s and early 2000s. http://sites.rootsweb.com/~rutledge/origins.htm
- Sean J Ruttledge: A Present Day Tour of Reiver Country: http://www.oocities.org/madisonavenue/3333/apresent.htm