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

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

The earliest origins of the Frye surname date from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name reveals that an early member was a person who was referred to as the fry, which literally means free. It has also been suggested that Frye comes from the Middle English word fry, meaning "small person," or "child." In either instance, the origins of the name are as a nickname which referred to characteristics of the first person who used the name.


It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Frye are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Frye include: Fry, Frye, Free and others.

First found in Wiltshire where they held a family seat from very early times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Frye research. Another 173 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1307, 1312, 1474, 1609, 1657, 1666, 1748, 1777, 1861, 1780 and 1845 are included under the topic Early Frye History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 159 words(11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Frye Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Frye family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 31 words(2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Frye or a variant listed above:

Frye Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Adrian Frye, who settled in Maine in 1630
  • William Frye, who landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Jeffery Frye, who arrived in Virginia in 1636
  • Anne Frye, who settled in Massachusetts in 1638
  • Wm Frye, who arrived in Virginia in 1638

Frye Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • GabrieIl Frye, who arrived in Virginia in 1703
  • Tobias Frye, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1727
  • Jacob Frye, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1741
  • Martin Frye, who arrived in North Carolina in 1764

Frye Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Bernh Heinr Frye, who landed in America in 1832
  • Joh Christian Frye, who landed in America in 1835
  • Elis Frye, who arrived in America in 1846
  • Franz Frye, who landed in America in 1849
  • W Frye, who arrived in America in 1849


  • Channing Frye (b. 1983), Portland Trail Blazers basketball player
  • Charlie Frye (b. 1981), NFL football player for the Seattle Seahawks
  • Donna Frye (b. 1952), San Diego city councilwoman
  • Dwight Frye (1899-1943), American actor, best known for his appearances in the horror films Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Invisible Man (1933), and Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
  • Marilyn Frye (b. 1941), American philosophy professor and feminist theorist
  • Mark Frye (b. 1957), contemporary American composer
  • Sean Anthony Frye (b. 1966), American child actor, best-known role was as Steve, Elliot's older brother's friend in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
  • Joseph Frye (1712-1794), early American military leader from colonial Maine, first as a major general of Massachusetts militia, brigadier general in the Continental Army, eponym of Fryeburg, Maine
  • Soleil Moon Frye (b. 1976), American actress, director and screenwriter
  • Virgil Charles Frye, American actor, and former Golden Gloves boxing champion



  • The Frye Family, Being a Record of the Descendants of Stephen Frye of Keokuk, Iowa & Sheridan Co., Kansas (1841-1917) by Marian McCauley Frye.
  • Some Descendants of John Fry, Late of Licking County, Ohio by Charles Recker.

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  1. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  3. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  4. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  5. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  6. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  7. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  8. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  9. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  10. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  11. ...

The Frye Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Frye 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 1 April 2014 at 10:39.

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