Gaelic name: Ros, Rois (placename in Ross-shire)
The chambered cairns, the brocks and vitrified forts in Ross-shire attest to a people skilled in construction for thousands of years. Ptolemy of Egypt, in the second century, referred to the people of Easter Ross as the Decantoe, "the noble folk".
In old Gaelic, ros means promonotory which is the dominant feature of Easter Ross. From this, the Celtic Moramaers, the ancient Earls and the people take their name.
In 1160 Ross takes precedence as the first erected clan in the time of Malcolm, Earl of Ross. In 1234 Farquhar Mac an t-Saigart, lay Abbot of Applecross, was recognized as Earl of Ross. His family, the O'Beolains evidently inherited the title through marriage with the heiress of the line of Malcolm.
From Farquhar are descended the Rosses of Balnagowan, chiefs of Clan Ross, for nearly four centuries. David Ross of Ross, the present chief, is of the Shandwick branch of the Balnagowan Rosses.