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

Origins Available: English, French

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

The name Massey arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Massey family lived in Cheshire. Their name, however, is a reference to their place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, Macey in Manche, Normandy.


Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Massey, Massie, Macy, Macey and others.

First found in Cheshire where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Massey research. Another 309 words(22 lines of text) covering the years 1602, 1619, 1674, 1646, 1674, 1797 and are included under the topic Early Massey History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 93 words(7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Massey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Massey family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 165 words(12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Massey or a variant listed above were:

Massey Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Jeffrey Massey who settled in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1620
  • Jeffrey Massey who settled in Plymouth in 1629
  • Jeffrey Massey settled in Salem in 1630
  • Jeffrey Massey, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Edward Massey settled in Virginia in 1634

Massey Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Wm Massey, who arrived in Virginia in 1701
  • Sarah Massey, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1710-1711
  • Anne Massey, who landed in Virginia in 1714
  • Leigh Massey, who landed in Maryland in 1722
  • Lee Massey, who arrived in Virginia in 1766

Massey Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Mathew Massey, aged 23, arrived in New York, NY in 1812
  • John Massey, who arrived in Texas in 1830
  • James Massey, aged 22, landed in New York in 1854


  • James Lee Massey (1934-2013), American information theorist and cryptographer, Professor Emeritus of Digital Technology at ETH Zurich
  • Athena Massey (b. 1971), American television and film actress
  • Ilona Massey (1910-1974), American film, stage and radio performer
  • Edith Massey (1918-1984), American actress and singer
  • Brigadier-General Clyde Massey (1902-1990), American Chief Quartermaster, Army Forces Western Pacific (1945-1946)
  • Lawrence "Lew" Massey (1956-2014), American professional NBA basketball player
  • Gerald Massey (1828-1907), English mystic and poet
  • Sir Harrie Stewart Wilson Massey (1908-1983), Australian mathematical physicist knighted in 1960
  • Denton Massey Jr. (1900-1984), Canadian engineer, Anglican priest and politician
  • Raymond Hart Massey (1896-1983), Canadian born actor and brother of Vincent Massey



  • Descendants of Arthur Massey, Cheraws District, South Carolina by Carmae Massey Smith.
  • The Masseys of Grenadier Island by Elizabeth C. Meilahn.

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  1. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  3. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  5. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  6. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  8. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  9. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  10. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  11. ...

The Massey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Massey 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 3 September 2014 at 17:22.

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