|About The Low & Raitt Family Tree (with added side branches)
I first became interested in my family tree many years ago and gleaned much of my
information from my mother, Margaret Raitt, with some additional information from
other family members. Unfortunately I did not take any serious action on my tree
until I recently attended a family gathering and realized how little I knew even
about my close relatives. I decided to do something about this and set up the tree as
you see it here. There is still much that could be added for the benefit of young
family members and future generations and to this end I invite you to contact me with
information, news, photographs, etc which I can enter for the benefit and information
of our families.
It is my intention initially to try and record names of all of my living and recently
deceased relations and once this is more or less complete I will try and find out
more about my ancestors. Being a "living" record it is one which has no end so I will
rely heavily on being kept up to date by my extended family.
Be assured that this web site, although available on the world wide web, is very
private and can only be fully viewed by those who seek my permission. I will restrict
this to those who are members of my extended family. If you wish to see details of
all living persons, have something to add, wish to amend my entries or seek more
information, please get in touch by clicking the "request invitation", link above.
The Family Raitt
(The following are my personal findings, thoughts and conclusions after a short study of the family
name, but for anyone interested in a much more scholarly and informative history of the family I
encourage you to visit the site - http://raitt.org - where there is an excellent essay on
the "Origin of the name of the Rait Family" compiled by Lindsay Raitt.
I am indebted to the owner of the site, David Raitt (see below) for his invaluable help and
information regarding our branch of the family and for his permission in allowing me to cite some of
the details therein for my own use)
There is a probability that there were branches of the family using various spellings of the
surname "Raitt" and the original spelling may have been completely different to the one my family
uses now. (There are records of Raith, Rate, Reat and Ret being used). This was probably down to
the fact that few of the working classes were literate and many documents and records were written
by professional scribes, etc. who recorded details as they sounded. For example, when my GGG-
Grandfather David was married in 1859 his name was recorded as "Rait", as was the birth
certificate of his son William when his birth was registered in 1862 even although the census
records of 1841 showed David, his siblings and parents all with the "TT" spelling. With better
education and increased literacy more members of the public became able to write their own names
and were also able to read and check the spellings written by scribes, etc. This could have been
the case with my family and since about the mid 19th century there has been a consistency in the
spelling of the surname as we now have it.
There is some doubt about the origins of the family name Raitt however, and I have endeavoured to
source information to determine where we come from. One strongly felt belief is that it derives
from an area to the East of Inverness where there is situated the ruins of Rait Castle. David
McGregor Peter wrote a book entitled “The Baronage of Angus and Mearns” in 1855, and according to
him the first recorded reference to the family in the Mearns (North East Scotland) was Thomas
Rate, who had a resignation of the lands of Dunnotter from Mathew de Glocester in AD 1314. He
resigned that barony to Sir William Keith in 1394. It is further recorded by a Mr Nisbet that the
progenitor (political or family predecessor) was a fugitive knight who had slain the Thane of
Calder and had fled to the Mearns seeking protection. It is said that this knight, believed to be
Sir Alexander Gervaise, married the heiress of Hallgreen in Robert lll’s reign; and that his
descendants held that barony down to the close of the seventeenth century. Mr Nisbet, an author
and genealogist in pre- Victorian days, believed that the family derive their name from the
country of “Rhetia” in Germany, and got their first possessions in Nairnshire from King Malcolm
IV “where there is Rait Castle”.
In a “History of Nairnshire” by George Bain, he recounts that the earliest possessors of Raite
were the Mackintoshes. The fourth chief of the clan obtained a grant of “Rothiemurcus, Meikle
Geddes and the Raite” some time before 1265. He is said to have married the daughter of the second
recorded Thane of Cawdor. His son died young and left an only child in whose infancy the Cummings
(or Comyns), one of the strongest families in the land and with royal ancestry, took possession of
Raite and other Mackintosh lands. As Norman knights, the Cummins as was the custom, dropped their
surname and appear in the records of the period as ‘De Rathe’ or ‘de Rate’ signifying that they
were ‘of Raite’. Gervaise de Raite was appointed knight constable of the royal castle at Nairn and
in 1292 he and his son Andrew swore fealty to King Edward l of England who had appointed himself
as “Overlord of the Realm of Scotland”.
As friends and allies of the English crown the de Raites had opposed Robert the Bruce, but the
Mackintoshes had rendered him loyal service. When Robert 1 became king in 1306 the Mackintoshes
revived their claim to the lands of Rait but the Cummings were allowed to remain at Rait and the
family feud continued. It was in 1442 that a charter of the lands of Raite and Meikle Geddes was
granted to the Mackintosh chief and the castle was abandoned that same year.
My own personal belief is significantly different from that of the above scholars and although
based on the principal that families took their names from the place they stayed, I believe that
the village of Rait, midway between Perth and Dundee, holds the key. It has a history stretching
back for 2 or 3 millenia as can be seen in the few stone “monuments” and other evidence of Rait’s
inhabitants. There is a range of evidence of Rait or Rath as an important religious site,
including pagan worship in pre Christian times. A fort still stands at the crossroads at Rait and
is clear evidence of its importance on the strategic route from Fife to Scone and Coupar Angus,
etc. In Ireland, the name “Rath” is mostly associated with protective structures around holy
sites, and of course Christianity first developed in Scotland from Irish missionaries.
It was following the Norman conquest of England that knights were dispersed throughout the land
and they included the family “De Bruce”. Over the next two hundred years the de Bruces became a
significant Scottish noble family with close royal blood ties and they owned large areas of land
in the Carse of Gowrie. A neighbour of the Bruces, and proprietor of Rait, went by the name of
John and he followed the Norman custom and styled himself John de Rait. John was a fairly
influential person at court in the 13th and early 14th centuries but either he or a son of the
same name lost his lands to the crown in 1360 and he was forced to leave. relocating to Hallgreen
Castle in Angus where the family remained for the next 400 years.
You can now see a connection with de Rait (of Rait and Hallgreen) and Gervaise de Raite of Rait
castle, Nairnshire. I believe that we could be descended from one or other or a combination of
both, or more likely from farm labourers or other employees of the Raits of Hallgreen (or
Nairnshire) who became known as Rait's (ie - belonging to or employed by), much as many other
people became known by the name of their trade or where they lived. You can make up your own mind
on the matter, or if you have evidence for or against my theory I would be pleased to hear from
In 1396 the King, Robert, the third grandson of Robert the Bruce, granted the Barony of Rait to
his Bruce cousin, David Bruce. The Bruce family now held all the lands of Rait as well as
extensive estates at Clackmannan until the 19th century.
George C Low, (amended September 2010)
For further information check the following websites:
www.archive.org and search “The Baronage of Angus and Mearns”
I am particularly indebted to a Mr David Raitt, resident in Netherlands, who has carried out
considerable research into his family and who was able to furnish me with additional information.
Some of this information may need to be further verified but it has cast more light into our
earlier family connections in the Arbroath and district locality in the late 18th and early 19th
centuries. You can find David's exhaustive and informative web site into the Raitt family at
Note re "The Wedge Family".
I am indebted to Graeme Wedge for allowing me to include details of the fourteen generations of
his family back to 1609. Anyone wishing to view the full details of the Wedge family should visit
webfamilytree.tribalpages.com. I have also drawn heavily from another source, namely The Whenlock
Family Tree, where much of the information regarding the Wedges has been sourced and compared.
This tree can also be found at tribalpages.com