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

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

The ancestors of the Rea family lived among the Strathclyde-Briton people in the Scottish/English Borderlands. It is a name for a person known as a timid or shy person. Further research revealed that the name is derived from the Old English word ray, that referred to a roe or female deer.

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In Medieval times, spelling and translation were not nearly so highly developed as today. They were generally carried out according to the sound and intuition of the bearer. For that reason spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. Rea has been spelled Rae, Rea, Ree, Ray and others.

First found in Dumfriesshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Dhn Phris), a Southern area, bordering on England that today forms part of the Dumfries and Galloway Council Area, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rea research. Another 175 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1350, 1376, 1612, 1627, and 1705 are included under the topic Early Rea History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 41 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rea Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Rea family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 274 words(20 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Unrest, poverty, and persecution caused thousands to look for opportunity and freedom in the North American colonies. The crossing was long, overcrowded, and unsanitary, though, and came only at great expense. Many Strathclyde families settled on the east coast of North America in communities that would form the backbone of what would become the great nations of the United States and Canada. The American War of Independence caused those who remained loyal to England to move north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the 20th century, Strathclyde and other Scottish families across North America began to recover their collective heritage through highland games and Clan societies. Among them:

Rea Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Hugh Rea settled in Virginia in 1737
  • Archibald, Elizabeth, Andrew, John, Margaret, Patrick, and Andrew Rea settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1767
  • Frances Rea, who landed in South Carolina in 1772
  • Sarah Rea, who landed in South Carolina in 1772
  • Archibald Rea, who landed in Mississippi in 1798

Rea Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • David Rea settled in New York State in 1804
  • John Rea, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1804
  • Henry Rea, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1810
  • William Rea, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • James Rea, aged 22, arrived in New York in 1812


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  • George Rea (1894-1978), American banker and former president of Drexel University
  • Herald Rea Cox (1907-1986), American bacteriologist
  • Peggy Rea (1921-2011), American actress, best known for her role in The Dukes of Hazzard
  • Walter Russell Rea (1873-1948), 1st Baron Rea, British merchant banker
  • Philip Russell Rea (1900-1981), 2nd Baron Rea, British peer
  • John Nicolas Rea (b. 1928), 3rd Baron Rea, British peer
  • Carleton Rea (1861-1946), English mycologist, botanist, and naturalist
  • John Rea (b. 1944), Canadian classical music composer
  • Christopher Anton "Chris" Rea (b. 1951), English singer-songwriter
  • Jack "Jackie" Rea (1921-2013), British snooker player from Northern Ireland, Irish Professional Champion (19471949) and (19521972)


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  • Ancestors of Joseph Bolen & Mary Read by Todd Bolen.
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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: In omnia promptus
Motto Translation: Ready for everything.

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  1. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  3. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  4. 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).
  5. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  6. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  7. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  8. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  9. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  10. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  11. ...

The Rea Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Rea 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 25 October 2013 at 10:21.

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