(Or infamous, or at Least Noteworthy) PEOPLE  NAMED "RALSTON"

This page lists many well-known Ralstons, Roulstons, Raulstons, etc.  Where it is possible/known, the lineage of these Ralstons is shown, and if there is a y-DNA connection to the family to a member or match of the Ralston Project, this is also indicated.  

If you are a Ralston, Rolston, Roulston, Raulston, or similar, you may be related to these or other Ralstons.  Having a Ralston male of your line do a y-DNA test is the best way to find out.  FamilyTreeDNA.com has the best y-DNA database and by joining the Ralston Project there you will be able to connect with other Ralstons and be part of solving the puzzle of the origins of the greater Ralston family.  This puzzle is especially challenging regarding Ralstons of Irish (Ulster) descent.  The more Ralstons that we can add to the project, the more likely we will eventually be able to reach a solution.  For more information please visit the Ralston Project and feel free to contact any of the site administrators.

The entries on this page are categorized, but listed in random order and in no way to be taken as an implication of order by importance.  Lineages are best guesses and may or may not be completely accurate.  Birth places, when known, are provided after dates.



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Samuel Moffett Ralston

Samuel M. Ralston (December 1, 1857 – October 14, 1925) was Democratic politician, the 28th Governor of and a United States Senator from the U.S. state of Indiana. Born into a large impoverished family, he took many jobs as a child including working in a coal mine. He taught school and studied law, becoming a prominent state lawyer. (Wikipedia.org)

In 1924 the Democratic presidential nomination was virtually Ralston's for the accepting after a long, complex battle in the convention, but Ralston stunned the convention by withdrawing his name. His reason, though unexplained at the time, was his precarious health.  (www.in.gov)

Lineage (no known y-DNA connections to Ralston Project members):

  • Samuel Moffett Ralston (1857–1925) Tuscarawas County, Ohio, USA
  • John Ralston (1812–1882) York Springs, Adams, Pennsylvania, USA
  • David Ralston (1786–1814) York Springs, Adams, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Andrew W Ralston (1753–1827) Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
  • John Ralston (1726–1762) Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland



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William Rolleston

William Rolleston (1831 –1903) was a New Zealand politician, public administrator, educationalist and Canterbury provincial superintendent. Rolleston was born on September 19, 1831 at Maltby, Yorkshire, as the 9th child of the Rev. George Rolleston and Anne Nettleship. His brother was the physician and zoologist George Rolleston.

After saving his money from a tutoring job, William left England and arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand, in 1858.  In 1868 he was elected to the New Zealand Parliament, where he served until 1899.  He served as Minister of Justice in the government of Premier John Hall from December 1880 to April 1881. He was also appointed Minister of Native Affairs in January 1881 after the resignation of John Bryce.

In 1891 he was elected unopposed as Leader of the Opposition.

In 1893 he supported women's suffrage, and subsequently claimed the credit in the 1893 election.




  • William Rolleston (1831–1903) Maltby, Yorkshire, England
  • George Rolleston (1792–1868) Gainsborough, Lincoln, England
  • Robert Rolleston (1747–1826) Derbyshire, England
  • John Rolleston (1705–1770) Greasley, Nottinghamshire, England
  • Christopher Rolleston (1680–unk) Nottinghamshire, England

(There are two descendants of William Rolleston who are R-M269 members of the Ralston Project.)


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James Harvey Ralston
James Harvey [Hervey] Ralston, lawyer, Illinois and California state legislator, and quartermaster at the Alamo from 1846 to 1848, was born on October 12, 1807, in Bourbon County, Kentucky, the son of John and Elizabeth (Neely) Ralston. In the fall of 1828 he moved to Quincy, Illinois, where he pursued a career as a lawyer and was sworn in by the Fifth Judicial Circuit of the state of Illinois on October 21, 1830, as an attorney and counselor. In August 1836 he was elected to represent Adams County in the lower house of the Tenth General Illinois Assembly, a body whose members included Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. On January 14, 1837, he was elected judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit. He held this post until he resigned in August 1837 to pursue his private practice.
In 1849 he moved to California. In 1852 he was elected the Democratic representative of Sacramento County to the California Senate. He subsequently moved to Virginia City, Nevada, where he continued his political and legal career. In 1863 he was a representative to the Nevada constitutional convention. The next year he moved to Austin, Lander County, Nevada, where he continued his legal practice. Ralston disappeared while traveling from Austin to his ranch in Smoky Valley during the first week in May 1864. He apparently became lost in a blinding snowstorm in the desert. His body was found by Shoshone Indians, who cremated it. A search party retrieved the remains and conveyed them back to Austin, where they were laid to rest. The area in Nevada where he died was subsequently named “Ralston's Desert.”
Mrs. Harriet N. Ralston, James’ second wife, claimed that Judge Ralston and financier William Chapman Ralston of San Francisco, were second cousins.

Lineage (no known y-DNA connections to Ralston Project members):

  • James Hervey Ralston 1807–1864 Bourbon County, Kentucky
  • John Ralston 1769–1834 Botetourt County, Virginia


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Jackson Harvey Ralston
Jackson Harvey Ralston (1857 – 1945), lawyer, born Feb 6, 1857, in Sacramento, California, son of James Harvey [s/b Hervey] and Harriet N. [Newell] Jackson Ralston.
Jackson H. Ralston was a prominent lawyer at the turn of the twentieth century who devoted his career to the growing fields of international arbitration, domestic taxation issues, and teaching, he argued before the supreme court on many occasions and his scholarly contributions were many as the author of numerous books and articles. He also lectured at Stanford University between 1929 and 1933. He represented the United States as agent and counsel in the first dispute to be submitted to the permanent court of arbitration at The Hague under the Hague Convention of 1899.
Despite his father’s untimely death when he was a young child, Jackson was committed to following in his footsteps, graduating from Georgetown University with a LLB degree in 1876 and gaining admittance to the bar. Two years later, he started a legal practice in Quincy, Illinois. In 1897, he was awarded a Doctor of Law degree in Washington, D.C. by the National University School of Law, which later merged with George Washington University Law School. While Ralston spent many years in the Washington, D.C. area and traveled abroad extensively, Northern California was his home. Born in 1857 in Sacramento, CA, he later died in 1945 at the age of 88 in Palo Alto, CA. The Jackson H. Ralston Prize in International Law was established at Stanford Law School in 1972 in his memory by his widow, Opal V. Ralston.
(Biographical information cited from: law.stanford.edu/directory/jackson-ralston/)
(WHO'S WHO IN AMERICA Copyright, 1901, by A. N. Marquis & Company pg 924)

Lineage (no known y-DNA connections to Ralston Project members):

  • Jackson Harvey Ralston (1857 – 1945) Sacramento, California
  • James Hervey Ralston (1807–1864) Bourbon County, Kentucky
  • John Ralston (1769–1834) Botetourt County, Virginia

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James Layton Ralston

James Layton Ralston, lawyer, politician (b at Amherst, Nova Scotia, 27 Sept 1881; d at Montréal 21 May 1948).  A WWI battalion commander with a reputation for bravery and competence, Ralston was twice minister of national defence, 1926-30 and 1940-44.

James Layton Ralston, lawyer, politician (b at Amherst, NS 27 Sept 1881; d at Montréal 21 May 1948). A WWI battalion commander with a reputation for bravery and competence, Ralston was twice minister of national defence, 1926-30 and 1940-44. Intense, scrupulously honest, and an able representative of the political interests of the Maritime provinces, he was a stalwart in Prime Minister Mackenzie King's WWII Cabinet, serving briefly as minister of finance, 1939-40, before becoming defence minister. Despite a tendency to become mired in administrative detail, he was a fine judge of generalship and a devoted defender of Canada's fighting men. King forced Ralston's resignation in 1944 because of his outspoken support of overseas conscription.


Lineage (no known y-DNA connections to Ralston Project members):

  • James Layton Ralston, (1881-1948) Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Burnett William Ralston (1856–1933) Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Thomas Atkinson Ralston (1825-1865) Nova Scotia, Canada
  • William Ralston (1793 or 1811–unknown) Scotland or England


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John Tate Raulston

John Tate Raulston (September 22, 1868 – July 11, 1956) was an American state judge in Rhea County, Tennessee, who received national publicity for presiding over the 1925 Scopes Trial, a famous creationism-evolution debate.

Raulston, who was a member of a prominent Republican family, was born on a small farm in Marion County, Tennessee. He attended U.S. Grant University, later known as Tennessee Wesleyan College, and was admitted to the bar in 1896. He served in the Tennessee state legislature and was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1908 against John A. Moon. He was elected judge of the Eighteenth Tennessee District in 1918.



  • John Tate Raulston 1(868–1956) Marion, Tennessee
  • William Doran Raulston (1832–1908) Jackson, Alabama
  • William O Raulston (1802–1870) Jefferson, Tennessee
  • James Raulston (1778–1844) Henrico, Virginia
  • Matthew Raulston (1742–1800) Bedford, Virginia
  • William Roulston/Rolstone (1708 - 1767) unknown, lived in Botetourt, Virginia

 (There is a y-DNA connection with a descendant of James Raulston 1778-1844 - thus with John Tate Raulston - to most of the I-M223 group on the Ralston Project.)


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Colonel James Raulston

Colonel James Raulston was born on 16 June 1778 in Augusta County, Virginia. He was the son of Matthew Raulston and Martha "Polly" Moore. James Raulston operated an inn in the Chestnut Mound section of Jackson County, now Putnam County, Tennessee, that became known as Raulston's Stand. He was a delegate to Knoxville in 1801, and was instrumental in the enactment of the necessary legislation to create the county of Jackson. He was married to Jane Simmons.

The website brazoriaroots.com states, “James met Jane Simmons about 1801 when he was working on his Uncle George's newspaper, the Knoxville Gazette.” [NOTE: James’ father was Matthew Raulston, son of William Roulston 1708-1767. George could not have been the son of William, and therefore, could not have been an uncle to James. However, this account does give credence to there being a connection between James Raulston and George Roulstone. Some believe that William Roulston was originally from Boston, which is where George Roulstone is purported to have been born. Some sources indicate William Roulston’s father to be John Roulstone, 1684–1744, of Boston. Other sources show this same John Roulstone to be George Roulstone’s great-grandfather.]

A document at ajlambert.com states that George was [James’ father] Matthew’s cousin. In Matthew’s will, the family name was spelled “Roulstone”. The name of James’ grandfather, William, is spelled by various locations “Roulston”, “Roulstone”, or “Rolstone”.

In 1809 James was commissioned into Andrew Jackson's army to fight against the Creek Indians. In 1812, Jackson again called him to serve in command of the 3rd Regiment of Tennessee. He became Colonel Raulston and served with General William Carroll in the Battle of New Orleans.

Colonel Raulston found that his log cabin was located on the line between Tennessee and Alabama when the area was surveyed in 1817. He first moved his bedroom to the Tennessee side of the cabin so that he could stay involved in Tennessee politics; then in 1828 he moved his bedroom to the other side of the cabin, declared his home to be in Alabama, and became a prominent member of the state legislature of Alabama. He died in 1844.


  • James Raulston (1778–1844) Henrico, Virginia
  • Matthew Raulston (1742–1800) Bedford, Virginia
  • William Roulston/Rolstone (1708 - 1767) of Botetourt, Virginia

(There is a y-DNA connection with a descendant of James Raulston to most of the I-M223 group on the Ralston Project.)

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Orville Alfred Ralston

Major Orville Alfred Ralston (1894-1942) was a World War I flying ace credited with five aerial victories. He returned to service for World War II, only to die in a B-17 crash.

Ralston joined the United States Army Air Service after attending Peru State College, but was attached to the Royal Air Force for seasoning in combat. He flew a Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5a in "Mick" Mannock's flight of 85 Squadron, and gained his first two victories there, destroying a Fokker D.VII each on 24 July and 22 August 1918. He then returned to American aviation, becoming a Sopwith Camel pilot with the 148th Aero Squadron. He teamed with fellow ace Elliott White Springs and two other pilots for his next win, and then independently destroyed two more D.VIIs—one each on 26 September and 3 October 1918.

He was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross in 1921. After the war, Orville was a dentist in Ainsworth, Nebraska, and served a term as mayor. An intelligence officer during WWII, he died in a stateside plane accident in December 1942.



  • Orville Alfred Ralston (1894 - 1942) Cass, Nebraska
  • Charles Alexander Ralston (1859 - 1908) Adair, Iowa
  • David W Ralston (1827 - 1883) Christian, Kentucky
  • Samuel R Rolston (1799 - 1889) Virginia
  • David John Rolston (1775 - 1856) Augusta, Virginia
  • Samuel David Roulston (c1740 - 1807) Botetourt, Virginia
  • William Roulston/Rolstone (1708 - 1767) unknown, lived in Botetourt, Virginia

(A descendant of Orville Alfred Ralston is a member of the projecttand part of the I-M223 group.)

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Joseph Ralston

General Joseph W. Ralston (born November 4, 1943) served in the United States Air Force from 1965 to 2003. He became Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1996. He was favorite to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1997, however following revelations of a secret affair he remained Vice Chairman until May 2000. He then became Supreme Allied Commander for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Europe until January 2003 when he retired.

He was appointed in August 2006 by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as Special Envoy for Countering the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), responsible for coordinating U.S. engagement with the Government of Turkey and the Government of Iraq to eliminate the terrorist threat of the PKK and other terrorist groups operating in Northern Iraq and across the Turkey-Iraq border. He also holds senior positions in various defense related corporations.




  • Joseph W. Ralston (1943-) Kentucky
  • Howard Ray Ralston, (1901–1979) Kentucky
  • Thomas Wesley Ralston (1875–1956) Kentucky
  • Wesley W Ralston (1841–1910) Kentucky
  • Robert M Ralston (1816–1874) Kentucky
  • David John Rolston (1775 - 1856) Augusta, Virginia
  • Samuel David Roulston (c1740 - 1807) Botetourt, Virginia
  • William Roulston/Rolstone (1708 - 1767) unknown, lived in Botetourt, Virginia

(There is a y-DNA connection with a descendant of David John Rolston - thus with Joseph Ralston -  to most of the I-M223 group on the Ralston Project.)


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Norman William Ralston

Norman Ralston (November 28, 1916 – November 14, 2007) was an American pilot. During World War II, Ralston, known as "Swede", trained hundreds of Army pilots at the Rankin Air Academy in Tulare, California. Rankin Aeronautical Academy was a civilian flight school for the United States Army Air Corps.

As a stunt pilot, he operated a fleet of aircraft for Ralston Airshows. Ralston became famous for flying an AT-6 Texan through Naval Air Station Tillamook, a World War II Blimp Hangar, in Tillamook, Oregon. Ralston constructed the first commercial hangar at Hillsboro, Oregon and helped found the Hillsboro Airport. He co-founded the airline company Aero Air, a successful full service Fixed Based Operator.


Lineage (no known y-DNA connections to Ralston Project members)::

  • Norman William Ralston (1916–2007) Washington, Oregon
  • William Gray Ralston (1890–1970) Douglas, Oregon
  • Samuel David Rolston (1864–1945) Ray, Missouri
  • William F Rolston (1826–1897) Hart, Kentucky

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John Steel Ralston

Captain John Steel Ralston MC, DFC (27 April 1887 – 25 July 1918) was a Scottish World War I war hero and flying ace. After winning a Military Cross in 1916 for lifesaving gallantry while serving in the infantry, he was credited with 12 official aerial victories as a fighter pilot before he was killed in action.


Lineage (no known y-DNA connections to members of the Ralston Project):

  • John Steel Ralston 1887–1918 Lanarkshire, Scotland
  • Thomas Binnie Ralston 1852–1924 Lanarkshire, Scotland
  • David Ralston 1820–1886 Lanarkshire, Scotland




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William Henry (Harry) Ralston

William Henry Ralston (1862–1943) was a well-known cattle raiser and dealer and proprietor of probably the best improved ranch on the Laramie River within the bounds of Laramie County, Wyomng. He was born on May 30, 1862, in Ayrshire, Scotland, a son of Andrew W. and Joanna* Ralston, farming people of Ayrshire. The father came to the United States in 1879 in the interests of the London Insurance Co., and resided in New York until his death in 1901. Harry lived in Scotland until 1879, when he went to New Zealand and engaged in farming until 1883, then coming to Wyoming by way of South America, the Atlantic ocean and New York, and entering the employ of the Teschemacher & DeBillier Cattle Co.  He was first was given charge of the ranches but later was appointed range-manager, having under his supervision all of the stock interests, his service extending from 1884 until 1892, when the firm closed out their interests in this country and Mr. Ralston purchased their home ranch, where he lived at Uva, the ranch lying along the Laramie River. He owned about 900 acres and leased other tracts. Harry died in 1943 in Cheyenne, Wyoming.


* Both of Harry’s parents were Ralstons. Andrew Wyllie Ralston (1833-1901) married a distant cousin, Joan Fullarton Ralston (1838-1864). Andrew subsequently remarried, moved to Brooklyn, New York and had three further sons born there: Andrew Wyllie, Frederick W, and Gavin Albert.


  • William Henry Ralston (1862–1943) Ayrshire, Scotland
  • Andrew Wyllie Ralston (1833–1901) Ayrshire, Scotland
  • Alexander Ralston (1808–1861) Ayrshire, Scotland
  • Gavin Ralston (1764–1833) Ayrshire, Scotland
  • Gavin Ralston (1731–1818) Renfrewshire, Scotland
  • William Ralston (c1679- ~1753) Renfrewshire, Scotland
  • Gavin Ralston (c1655-pre1720)

(There is a y-DNA connection with a descendant of Andrew W Ralston (1833–1901), thus to Harry Ralston, and the R-M269 Subclade R-BY15421 group of the Ralston Project.)

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Gavin Ralston

Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon (1900-2002), better known as the mother of Queen Elizabeth II, spent most her childhood at St Paul's Walden and at Glamis Castle, Angus, Scotland, her father’s ancestral home.  (Wikipedia.org)

Gavin Ralston (1870-1951) was factor (manager) of Glamis Castle during the early 1900s.  He succeeded his father, Andrew Ralston (1831-1914), in this role.  Both Andrew and Gavin were said to be dour and ‘hard-headed’, though much respected.  Gavin’s brothers, Andrew Ralston (1866-1926), was factor to the Earl of Hopetoun; William Henry Ralston (1863-1943), was employed by the Strathmore family on their English estates; Claude Lyon Ralston (born 1867), worked for a time for the Earl of Airlie; and Charles Ralston (born 1864), was an employee of the Duke of Buccleuch.



  • Gavin Ralston (1870-1951) Forfarshire, Scotland
  • Andrew Ralston (1831-1914) Wigtownshire, Scotland
  • William Ralston (1797–1864) Ayrshire, Scotland
  • James Ralston (1757–1816) Wigtownshire, Scotland
  • Gavin Ralston (1731–1818) Renfrewshire, Scotland
  • William Ralston (c1679- ~1753) Renfrewshire, Scotland
  • Gavin Ralston (c1655-pre1720)

(There is a y-DNA connection with a descendant of Gavin Ralston (1731–1818), and the R-M269 Subclade R-BY15421 group of the Ralston Project.)

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George Roulstone

http://www.brazoriaroots.com/smroulestone.jpg George Roulstone (8 Oct. 1767–10 Aug. 1804), first printer and newspaper publisher in Tennessee, was born in Boston, Mass., where he received a fair education and learned the printer's trade. He possibly was the son of Mary and George Roulstone, sexton of the First Church of Boston between 1776 and 1780.

In 1789 he moved to Fayetteville, N.C., and worked for a newspaper until March 1791, when he and Robert Ferguson, … were induced by William Blount, newly appointed governor of the Southwest Territory (later the state of Tennessee), to found a newspaper for Knoxville, intended to become the territorial capital. This was the first newspaper west of the Appalachians. Named the Knoxville Gazette, the paper was first published in 1791, in Rogersville, before Knoxville was established. George was not only the first printer of the state from 1796 to 1804, but was the first clerk of the Southwest Territory, the first postmaster of Knoxville, and a trustee of Blount College, now the University of Tennessee. He was the printer of the "Laws of the State of Tennessee," generally referred to as "Roulstone's Laws" and considered to be the first book published in Tennessee.


(There is no known y-DNA connection to the family of George Roulstone.)

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Annie Ralston

" The loves and hopes of youthful hours,

Though buried in oblivion deep,
Like hidden threads in woven flowers,
Upon life's web will start from sleep.
And one loved face we sometimes find
Pictured there with memories rife —
A part of that mysterious mind
Which forms the endless warp of life."

(Most of this account is taken from Life and Adventures of Frank and Jesse James, The Noted Western Out-laws – Joseph A. Dacus.)

Annie Ralston (1853–1944) was the daughter of Samuel Ralston (1809–1899), from Ireland. Samuel and family lived in Independence, Missouri, and were said to be wealthy, and of culture and refinement. Annie was beautiful, talented and intelligent, being the highest in her class at school. Her father was a southern supporter and suffered much from the war. He was visited frequently in his home by other sympathizers, including Frank and Jesse James. Many said that it was Annie that was the actual attraction for the James boy’s visits.

In 1875, without her parent’s knowledge or approval, Annie left home and met Frank James. They traveled to Leavenworth, Kansas, where they were married.


(Samuel Ralston’s lineage is unknown and there is currently no known y-DNA connection to this family and members of the Ralston Project.)

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Thomas Ralston

Thomas Ralston was born in 1827, near Campbeltownn, Scotland, on they Argyle peninsula. Along with many of his family members, he emigrated to America and settled in northwest Illinois. Others of the Argyle and Kintyre Ralstons also settled in Ohio.

Based on known family history, and supported by yDNA results, it appears that this Ralston clan originated with the Paisley and Beith Ralstons, who in turn, arose from the "Barony of Ralstons" and the "Ralstons of that ilk."

There is an excellent summary on the Ralston/Belden Genealogy website about how and why these Ralstons settled on the peninsula.

The progenitor of the "Kintyre Ralstons" is felt to be David Ralston, born about 1620, presumably in or near Beith, Ayrshire.
The exact lineage is well documented on the Ralston/Belden genealogy website, which is maintained by Harold Ralston, one of the Illinois and Wisconsin descendants of the Kintyre Ralstons

Genetics: Based on multiple matches in the Family Tree DNA yDNA database, these Ralstons are R-M269 haplogroup, and are share a common ancestor with at least four other Ralstons who in the curret Ralston Surname Project.

This family is also fully documented in an excellent book, "Saga of our Kintyre Kin" by Grace Ralston.



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Jeremiah Ralston

Monument in Lebanon, Oregon:

Jeremiah Ralston (1798–1877), the son of Joseph Ralston (1760–1834) from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, was born in Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1798. The Joseph Ralston family, including Jeremiah, later relocated from Tennessee to Indiana. Jeremiah later moved to Ohio.

In Ohio, Jeremiah was told by a friend who had just returned of the good land available in Oregon. In the spring of 1847, Jeremiah and his family departed with 12 yoke of oxen and three wagons. In those wagons, besides his household goods, he brought supplies and merchandise with which to start a store. On the site of Lebanon Ralston found two squatters who had erected a cabin and made some improvements. Ralston traded $30 and a yoke of oxen for their rights.

Jeremiah had the site of Lebanon surveyed and recorded in 1851. It is said he chose the name because of the many cedar trees by the river made him think of the Biblical references to the cedars of Lebanon and because of sentiment for his birthplace - Lebanon, Tennessee..


(A descendant of Jeremiah Ralston is a member of the Ralston Project and is distantly related to the I-M223 group.)

Jeremiah Ralston


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Alexander Ralston (1771 – January 5, 1827)

A Scottish surveyor who was one of two co-architects for the design of the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. He also helped to design Washington, D.C. He was born in Scotland, parents unknown.









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J.K. Ralston

James Kenneth "J.K." Ralston (March 31, 1896 – November 26, 1987) was an American painter of the Old American West whose primary topics were the American West and images of cowboys and American Indians. He also did commercial artwork.

Ralston's family moved to Colorado from Independence, Missouri in 1859 by ox team, then Idaho in 1863, and finally Montana in 1864, seeking gold each time. Ralston's father, William R. Ralston, "arrived in Highland, a settlement on Alder Gulch" on July 4, 1864, settling on a ranch "about 12 miles" from Choteau, Montana in 1877.


Lineage (no known y-DNA connections to members of the Ralston Project):

  • James Kenneth Ralston (1896–1987) Montana
  • William R Ralston (1858–1932) Missouri
  • Samuel Franklin Ralston Sr (1835–1904) Kentucky
  • Matthew Ralston (1805– ) of Kentucky

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Alexander Ralston (1779–1861)

Alexander Ralston (1779–1861), was born in Pennsylvania, but raised in the Cumberland Settlements near Nashville, TN. During the War of 1812, Alexander was second Major under Col. Philip Pipkin as part of General Andrew Jackson’s army, and at one point placed in command of Fort Strother (Mississippi Territory, now Alabama.) During the war, Alexander penned at least two letters to General Jackson which are maintained in the US Library of Congress, national archives.

After the war Alexander lived on the Harpeth River in Williamson County, Tennessee where he had a mill and was a cabinet maker.

Alexander later moved his family to West Tennessee and settled in what is today Weakley County. He was a prominent figure in early West Tennessee and Ralston, Tennessee, was an important railroad station where he was the first postmaster. He owned vast sections of land and was very prolific in land purchases and sales. Alexander is mentioned in the book "Home In the Wilderness" by Effie Meek Maiden. From the book review: “an authentic story of a pioneer family's settlement in West Tennessee after the Indian removal. The story begins in 1848, when James A. Meek travels by horseback from his mill on the Duck River near Chapel Hill, TN to Weakley County to investigate the appeals made to him by Major Alexander Ralston to settle in the ‘Western District’ and ends in 1880.”

There is unfortunately no known picture of Alexander. There is, however, a photo of his brother, John, who was a captain in the War of 1812. He was later a surveyor in West Tennessee, and one of the early settlers and founders of Shelby County, TN. He surveyed and planned the city of Raleigh, the original county seat of Shelby County.  John also served as a  justice of the peace and later became an attorney practicing in Raleigh and Memphis.

Alexander and John were sons of David Ralston (1741-1831) who came to America from Northern Ireland before the Revolutionary War.

(There is a y-DNA connection with a descendant of David Ralston 1741-1831 - thus with Alexander Ralston - to most of the I-M223 group on the Ralston Project.)





CELEBRITIES (Actors/Actresses/Authors/Athletes)

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Jobyna Ralston

Jobyna Ralston (born Jobyna Lancaster Raulston in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, November 21, 1899 – January 22, 1967) was an American stage and film actress. She had a featured role in the first Oscar-winning film, Wings in 1927, but is perhaps best remembered today for her on-screen chemistry with Harold Lloyd, with whom she appeared in seven movies.



  • Jobyna Lancaster Raulston (1899–1967) Marion, Tennessee
  • Joseph L Raulston (1868–1940) Marion, Tennessee
  • Hugh Lawson White Raulston (1833–1902) Marion, Tennessee
  • Robert Simmons Raulston (1806–1867) Marion, Tennessee
  • James Raulston (1778–1844) Henrico, Virginia
  • Matthew Raulston (1742–1800) Bedford, Virginia
  • William Roulston/Rolstone (1708 - 1767) of Botetourt, Virginia


There is a y-DNA connection to a descendant of James Raulston with most members of the I-M223 group of the Ralston Project.

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Vera Miles

Vera June Miles (née Ralston, born August 23, 1929) is a retired American actress who worked closely with Alfred Hitchcock, most notably as Lila Crane in the classic 1960 film Psycho, reprising the role in the 1983 sequel Psycho II. Other films in which she appeared include Tarzan's Hidden Jungle (1955), The Searchers (1956), Alfred Hitchcock's The Wrong Man (also 1956), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), Follow Me, Boys! (1966), Sergeant Ryker (1968) and Molly and Lawless John (1972).  Vera used the stage name Miles (her first husband's name) so as not to be confused with the Czech-born American actress and figure skater Vera Ralston (born Věra Helena Hrubá).


Vera’s Ralston lineage (no known y-DNA connections to Ralston Project members):

  • Thomas Albert Ralston Sr. (1902–1979) Woodward, Oklahoma
  • Thomas Dempsey Ralston (1870–1931) Ray County, Missouri
  • John W. Ralston (1848–1878) Henry County, Indiana
  • Thomas Ralston Sr. (1796–1885) Bourbon County, Kentucky
  • James Ralston Sr. (1765–1833) unknown


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Marcia Ralston

Marcia Mascotte Ralston (19 September 1906 – 23 November 1988) was an Australian born actress who appeared in Hollywood films in the 1930s and 1940s.  Her father was well known Australian singer and actor John Ralston.  After her first marriage to Phil Harris ended in divorce in 1940, She married Bud Henderson in 1954. Henderson's sister, Betty, was married to actor Robert Young. The connection resulted in an occasional supporting role as Nurse Donnelly, in the TV series Marcus Welby, M.D. in the early 1970s. She died at Rancho Mirage, California in 1988.

Lineage (no known y-DNA connections to Ralston Project members):

  • Marcia Mascotte Ralston (1906–1988) Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • John Morgan Ralston (1882–1933) Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • John Ralston (1850–1908) Montrose, Scotland
  • George Ralston, Montrose, Scotland

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T. W. Rolleston

Thomas William Hazen Rolleston (May 1, 1857 - 1920) was an Irish writer, literary figure and translator, known as a poet but publishing over a wide range of literary and political topics. He lived at various times in Killiney in South Dublin, Germany, London and County Wicklow; settling finally in 1908 in Hampstead, London, where he died. Approximately 168 books are associated with Rolleston, some as writer or editor.



Lineage (no known y-DNA connections to Ralston Project members) (We are actively recruiting male Rollestons to participate, so that we can clarify this surname, in addition to the more common Ralston, Roulston, Roston spellings. We do have a handful of Rolleston surnames in the project, but we need more.):

  • Thomas William Hazen Rolleston (1857-1920) Kings County, Ireland
  • Charles Rolleston (1808-1888) County Offaly, Ireland
  • Charles Rolleston (1768-1820) County Offaly, Ireland
  • James Frank Rolleston (1742-1800) County Offaly, Ireland



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Gilbert Ralston

Gilbert Alexander Ralston (January 5, 1912 – March 18, 1999) was an American screenwriter, journalist and author. He was a television producer in the 1950s and a screenwriter in the 1960s. He created the television series The Wild Wild West and wrote scripts for Star Trek, Gunsmoke, Ben Casey, I Spy, Hawaii Five-O, and The Naked City. He wrote the screenplay for the 1971 movie Willard.


Lineage (no known y-DNA connections to members of the Ralston Project):

  • Gilbert Alexander Ralston 1912–1999 Los Angeles, California
  • Alexander Gilbert Ralston 1876–1935 Montana
  • William A Ralston 1845–1914 Pennsylvania
  • Samuel Ralston 1816–1876 Pennsylvania


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Aron Lee Ralston

Aron Ralston (born October 27, 1975) is an American outdoors man, mechanical engineer and motivational speaker known for having survived a canyoneering accident in southeastern Utah in 2003 during which he amputated his own right forearm with a dull pocketknife in order to free himself from a dislodged boulder which had him trapped in Blue John Canyon for six days. After he freed himself, he had to make his way through the remainder of the canyon, then rappelled down a 65-foot (20 m) sheer cliff face in order to reach safety.


Lineage (no known y-DNA connections to Ralston Project members):

  • Aron Ralston, born in Marion County, Ohio
  • Lawrence Eugene Ralston
  • Pearl Kendall (P K) Ralston 1925–1996 Hardin County, Ohio
  • Paul Thomas Ralston 1898–1973 Hardin County, Ohio
  • Pliny Kendall Ralston 1875–1938 Wyandot County, Ohio
  • William Ralston 1853–1904 Richland County, Ohio
  • Joseph Ralston 1827–1865 Pennsylvania
  • William Ralston 1796–1869 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
  • Paul Ralston 1741–1813


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Dennis Ralston

Richard Dennis Ralston (born July 27, 1942) is an American former professional tennis player whose active career spanned the 1960s and 1970s.

As a young player he was coached by tennis pro Pancho Gonzales. He attended the University of Southern California (USC) and won NCAA championships under their coach George Toley. He and partner Bill Bond captured the NCAA doubles title in 1964. He was the highest-ranked American player at the end of three consecutive years in the 1960s; Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph ranked him as high as world no. 5 in 1966 (Ralston was also ranked world no. 3 by the magazine Reading Eagle in 1963).

Ralston was a member of the Handsome Eight, the initial group of players signed to the professional World Championship Tennis tour. He won 27 national doubles and singles titles, including five grand-slam doubles crowns.


Lineage (no known y-DNA connections to members of the Ralston Project):

  • Richard Dennis Ralston 1942- Kern County, California
  • Robert LeRoy Ralston 1915-1992 California
  • Roy Dixon Ralston 1887-1968 California
  • Robert Ralston 1855-1935 Ontario, Canada
  • William Ralston 1812-1879 Scotland
  • Petter "Peter" Ralston 1768-1820 Scotland


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John Ralston

John R. Ralston (April 26, 1927 – September 14, 2019) was an American football player, coach, and sports executive. He served as the head football coach at Utah State University (1959–1962), Stanford University (1963–1971), and San Jose State University (1993–1996). He also coached the Denver Broncos of the NFL from 1972 to 1976, and the Oakland Invaders of the short-lived USFL in 1983 and 1984. Additionally, he served in the San Francisco 49ers front office (1979 to 1980) and served as a special assistant to the athletic director at San Jose State from 1997 until 2013. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 1992.


Lineage (no known y-DNA connections to members of the Ralston Project):

  • John R. Ralston 1927-2019 Oakland, California
  • Milo J. Ralston 1901–1975 Indiana
  • George W Ralston 1875–1917 Michigan
  • Andrew Jackson Ralston 1846–1925 Ohio
  • Paul Ralston 1809–1885 Pennsylvania
  • John D. Ralston 1779–1865 Pennsylvania
  • Paul Ralston 1741–1813 Ireland



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William Chapman Ralston

William "Billy" Chapman Ralston (January 12, 1826 – August 27, 1875) was a San Francisco, California businessman and financier, and was the founder of the Bank of California.

He built Ralston Hall in Belmont, California as a summer home. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is now part of the campus of Notre Dame de Namur University. He is the namesake of Ralston, California, and of Ralston Peak in the Lake Tahoe area.


Lineage (no known y-DNA connections to Ralston Project members):

  • William Chapman Ralston (1826–1875) Richland County, Ohio
  • Robert Ralston III (1797–1870) Hancock County, West Virginia
  • Robert Ralston II (1768–1854)




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Joseph Stevenson Ralston

Joseph Stevenson Ralston was born near Hamilton, Ontario, in 1865. His father, Robert Ralston, was a recent immigrant from Ireland. His mother, Sarah Springer Ralston, came from a family that had been in America since 1680 but had fled to Canada during the American Revolution because of their loyalty to the crown.

Like a number of people in Canada, and certainly like many more in the United States, Joseph was a restless young man. After receiving a basic education, he went to sea on a ship called the City of Calcutta out of Glasgow, Scotland. After a four-year apprenticeship, he came home, but soon was on the move once again.

By the turn of the century, Joseph was working in Chicago for a large manufacturer of railroad cars.

Working with a young engineer named Anton Becker, they developed plans for a new type of rail car. The entire car would be made of durable steel and would have a series of 16 trap doors along its bottom to permit coal or anything else to be quickly unloaded.

Beginning in 1905, Ralston and his financial backers began a process that was nothing short of amazing. Purchasing an old factory building, little of which had anything to do with building rail cars. The new company took the building and began to build rail cars. While this went on, it completely gutted the interior of the old building and then proceeded to build a brand-new building several hundred feet long to accommodate an assembly line to produce rail cars.

Between 1906 and 1911, the Ralston Steel Car Company built more than 10,000 of the new cars and soon found them shipped to all parts of the world. Over the years, the company built an entire community on the East Side of Columbus. The area sat on the north side of the rail yards to the east of Milo Grogan. It was a self-contained world with most of its residents earning their livelihoods at the great factory.

Ralston died in 1920. F. E. Simons led the company from 1920 to 1935 and he was followed by Frank Livingston in the years after World War II. Through all of those years, the Ralston Steel Car Co. was one of the great industrial businesses of Columbus.

Changes in America’s rail transport business after World War II made the company less competitive and it went out of business in 1953.


Lineage (no known y-DNA connections to members of the Ralston Project):

  • Joseph Stevenson Ralston (1863–1920) Ontario, Canada
  • Robert Ralston (1826–1873) Ontario, Canada
  • Joseph Ralston (1786–1865) Donegal, Ireland



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James Chester "JC" Raulston

Horticulturist for whom the North Carolina State University arboretum was named.   J. C.’s biography, “Chlorophyll in his Veins,” (BJW Books/2009) was written by Bobby J. Ward.

Pictured is J.C. in his famous “Green Man” jacket.



  • James Chester "JC" Raulston (1940–1996)
  • Daniel Webster Raulston Jr. (1906–1977) Garfield, Oklahoma
  • Daniel Webster Raulston (1860–1934 Marion, Tennessee
  • Evander Mckeever Raulston (1818–1870) Marion, Tennessee
  • James Raulston (1778–1844) Henrico, Virginia
  • Matthew Raulston (1742–1800) Bedford, Virginia
  • William Roulston/Rolstone (1708 - 1767) unknown, lived in Botetourt, Virginia

(There is a y-DNA connection with a descendant of James Raulston 1778-1844 - thus with J.C. Raulston - to most of the I-M223 group on the Ralston Project.)

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James Grier Ralston

For a greater portion of his life James Grier Ralston (1815-1880) was an educator and very much concerned with the religious/spiritual life of his pupils. His interests in religious affairs and education led to the founding of a seminary for women and missionary activities in Wisco nsin. He was a student of natural history and mineralogy and the discoverer of a fluoride of aluminum and calcium that was later named Ralstonite


Lineage (no known y-DNA connections to Ralston Project members):

  • Rev. James Grier Ralston (1815–1880) Pennsylvania
  • Samuel F. Ralston (1785–1859) Pennsylvania
  • John Ralston Sr. (1735–1795) Pennsylvania
  • James Ralston (1684–1775) Antrim, Northern Ireland

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George Rolleston

George Rolleston MA MD FRCP FRS (30 July 1829 – 16 June 1881) was an English physician and zoologist. He was the first Linacre Professor of Anatomy and Physiology to be appointed at the University of Oxford, a post he held from 1860 until his death in 1881. Rolleston, a friend and protégé of Thomas Henry Huxley, was an evolutionary biologist.

Born at Maltby Hall, near Rotherham, Yorkshire, England, his parents were Rev. George Rolleston (rector and squire of Maltby) and Anne Nettleship; his brother, William Rolleston, became a prominent politician in New Zealand.



  • George Rolleston (1829–1881) Maltby, Yorkshire, England
  • George Rolleston (1792–1868) Gainsborough, Lincoln, England
  • Robert Rolleston (1747–1826) Derbyshire, England
  • John Rolleston (1705–1770) Greasley, Nottinghamshire, England
  • Christopher Rolleston (1680–unk) Nottinghamshire, England

(There are two descendants of George Rolleston's brother William who are R-M269 members of the Ralston Project.)




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Esther Ralston

Projected as wholesome but fun-loving, Maine-born leading lady Esther Ralston enjoyed a prime silent age career and, at her peak, was packaged and publicized as "The American Venus" by none other than that of showman Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. after appearing as a dazzling beauty queen in the film of the same name (The American Venus (1926)). A decade later, the blonde beauty's career, however, had tapered off.

Christened Esther Worth in 1902, Ms. Ralston endured a "born in a trunk" existence as the child of parents who graced the burlesque, carnival and vaudeville circuits. By the time she was 2, she had become a part of the family act (which included four brothers) with the billing now extended to "The Ralston Family with Baby Esther, America's Youngest Juliet."


There is no Ralston lineage for Esther, as her family name was Worth.


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Bob Ralston

Robert Howard Ralston (born July 2, 1938, in California) is a pianist and organist who performed on television's The Lawrence Welk Show from 1963 until 1982, when the series ended.


Bob was the son of Bradford (Worth) Ralston, brother of Esther.  There is no Ralston lineage for Bob, as his family name was Worth.







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Ralston Purina

You have heard of it, right?

Checkerboard logo. Rice Chex cereal. Chex mix for parties. Purina Dog Chow. Animal chow for just about any animal you can name.

The fact is, there never was a person named "Ralston" associated with the Purina Feed company. It was a marketing ploy, to piggyback on the Ralstonism movement, that was popular near the beginning of the twentieth century.

But the net effect has been that everyone in America knows how to spell and pronounce the surname “Ralston". Or to put it better, we North Americans have all been brainwashed to this mindset.

There are over a dozen legitimate ways to spell the surname. There are probably at least 6 distinct ways to pronounce the variations in spelling. But the marketing efforts of the Ralston-Purina company, TV ads, and the rest, have homogenized the spelling and pronunciation of the Surname Ralston, in North America.

That is not necessarily a bad thing. It makes it easier for strangers to understand how to spell and pronounce my surname.

But other spellings and pronunciations are accepted elsewhere in the English-speaking world. So, Americans and Canadians should be aware that "RAWL ston" is not the only way to pronounce it. That is just the way it has been pronounced in advertising for the last century.


So, in this limited context, the word RALSTON is an acronym for the following:


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Vera Ralston

Vera Ralston (born Věra Helena Hrubá; July 12, 1920 – February 9, 2003) was a Czech figure skater and actress. She later became a naturalized American citizen. She worked as an actress during the 1940s and 1950s.

As a figure skater, she was once approached by Adolf Hitler who asked her if she would like to "skate for the swastika." As she later boasted, "I looked him right in the eye, and said that I'd rather skate on the swastika.” The Führer was furious.

She moved to Hollywood with her mother and signed a contract in 1943 with Republic Pictures. During her career she was known as Vera Hrubá Ralston and later Vera Ralston.


There is no Ralston lineage for Vera, as her family name was Hrubá.