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

Origins Available: Scottish, Swiss

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

In ancient Scotland, a tribe called the Boernicians were the first to use the name Graybill. It is a nickname for a person who had gray hair. In Scotland, the surname Graybill actually came from two different derivations. As a nickname, it came from the Gaelic word riabhach, which means gray. As a habitational name, it derived from the place named Graye, in Calvados. This place-name came from the Gallo-Roman personal name, Gratus, which means welcome or pleasing. Graybill is therefore a nickname and a habitation name, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Nicknames form a broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, and can refer directly or indirectly to one's personality, physical attributes, mannerisms, or even their habits of dress. Habitation names are one of several types of local names, including: topographic surnames, which could be given to a person who lived beside any physical feature, such as a hill, stream, church or type of tree. Members of the Graybill family were first found in Northumberland.

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In the Middles Ages scribes spelled names by their sound. Often a name was written under a different spelling variation each time it was recorded. Graybill has appeared as Gray, Grey, Groy, Croy, Graye and others.

First found in Northumberland, with Anschatel Groy of Haute Saone, Normandy, who fought with William the Conqueror in 1066 AD. After the conquest, Anschatel Groy settled in Chillingham, Northumberland. He was from the department of Haute Saone called Gray, sometimes Groy, or Croy, in Normandy. From this house sprang the Grays of Suffolk, Kent, Tankerville, and Stamford. Some of the earliest records of the name include: Richard de Grey (born c. 1140); and his son, Sir Henry de Grey of Grays Thurrock, Essex (1155-1219), a favourite courtier of King John of England; and his son, Richard de Grey (died 1271) of Codnor, Derbyshire, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports in 1258; and his brother Sir John de Grey (died 1266), an English soldier and High Sheriff of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire (1238-1239) and of High Sheriff of Herefordshire (1252-1253). John de Gray (died 1214) was Bishop of Norwich in Norfolk, and later became Archbishop of Canterbury, but was never confirmed.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Graybill research. Another 237 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1248, 1250, 1296, 1390, 1469, 1445, 1387, 1439, 1416, 1490, 1451, 1501, 1454, 1505, 1490, 1505, 1590, 1660, 1599, 1673, 1611, 1676, 1660, 1676, 1623, 1657, 1674, 1621, 1622 and are included under the topic Early Graybill History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 397 words(28 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Graybill Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Graybill family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 109 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The ancestors of Boernician-Scottish settlers dot North America even today. They settled all along the east coast when they came over, but some went north as United Empire Loyalists at the time of the War of Independence. However, these strong lines endured as Scottish families in the United States and Canada have rediscovered much of the heritage that was taken from them centuries ago. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Graybill, or a variant listed above:

Graybill Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • John Graybill, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1765

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  1. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  2. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  3. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  4. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  5. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  6. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  7. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  8. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  10. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  11. ...

The Graybill Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Graybill 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 17 February 2014 at 08:36.

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