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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Airy family come from? What is the English Airy family crest and coat of arms? When did the Airy family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Airy family history?

Airy is one of the thousands of new names that the Norman Conquest brought to England in 1066. The Airy family lived in the Castle of Airey, or Arey in Normandy. The earliest record of the name was in 1198 of Goisbert de Arreio in Normandy. In England, the family settled mostly in the counties of Cumberland and Westmorland (now part of Cumbria) having derived from the word eyrara which means gravel-banked stream.

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It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Airy are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Airy include Airey, Airy, Airie, Arey, Array, Aireys, Aries, Areys and many more.

First found in the northern English counties of Cumberland and Westmorland where they held a family seat from very ancient times, probably long before the Norman Conquest of England by the Duke of Normandy in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Airy research. Another 179 words(13 lines of text) covering the years 1301, 1332, 1611, and 1833 are included under the topic Early Airy History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Airy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Airy family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 177 words(13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Airy, or a variant listed above:

Airy Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Robert Airy settled in Boston, in 1765

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  • Sir George Biddell Airy (1801-1892), English astronomer


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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Je le tiendrai
Motto Translation: I will possess.

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  1. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  2. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  3. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  4. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  6. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  9. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  10. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Airy Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Airy Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 27 October 2010 at 13:13.

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