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

Origins Available: French, Scottish

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

The ancestors of the first families to use the name Roy lived in ancient Scotland in the kingdom of Dalriada. The name was then used as a nickname for a person with red hair. Roy is a nickname, 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. The surname Roy comes from the Gaelic word ruadh, which means red. Thus, the original bearers of the surname Roy would have been known for their red hair, or possibly, a ruddy complexion.


In various documents Roy has been spelled Since medieval scribes still spelled according to sound, records from that era contain an enormous number of spelling variations. Roy, Roys, Roye, Roi, McRoy and others.

First found in Lanarkshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Lannraig) a former county in the central Strathclyde region of Scotland, now divided into the Council Areas of North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, and the City of Glasgow, where they held a family seat from very early times, where some say before the Millenium.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Roy research. Another 196 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1488 and 1550 are included under the topic Early Roy History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Roy 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.


Many who arrived from Scotland settled along the east coast of North America in communities that would go on to become the backbones of the young nations of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many settlers who remained loyal to England went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Their descendants later began to recover the lost Scottish heritage through events such as the highland games that dot North America in the summer months. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Roy family emigrate to North America:

Roy Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Henry and Margaret Roy who settled in Virginia in 1637
  • Jacob Roy, aged 42, landed in New York in 1647
  • Hugh Roy settled in Virginia in 1654
  • Christian Roy, who arrived in Maryland in 1673

Roy Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Daniel Roy, who landed in Jamestown, Va in 1700
  • Daniel Roy settled in Virginia in 1700
  • Jacques Roy, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1700
  • Bryan Roy, who landed in Virginia in 1705
  • Francois Roy, aged 30, arrived in Louisiana in 1719

Roy Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • William Roy, aged 21, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Juan Bautista Roy, who arrived in Puerto Rico in 1816
  • Mrs. Roy, aged 45, settled with her three children in New Orleans in 1821
  • George Roy, aged 26, arrived in Barnstable, Massachusetts in 1822
  • James Roy, aged 24, landed in Barnstable, Massachusetts in 1822


  • J Stapleton Roy (b. 1935), American (Chinese-born) diplomat and Asian affairs expert, US ambassador to Singapore 1984-1986
  • Vesta Roy (1925-2002), American politician and acting governor of New Hampshire 1982-1983
  • William Roy (1726-1790), Scottish military surveyor
  • J Edmond Roy, French author who wrote the history of the domain of Lauzon
  • Andrew Roy (b. 1954), English artist
  • Andrew Donald Roy, Assistant Under-Secretary of State (Economics), Ministry of Defence
  • Catherine Murray Roy CBE, RRC, MM, Matron-in- chief, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service
  • Maurice Roy, Grand Officer, Legion of Honour, Professor at Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, France
  • Gabrielle Roy, French-Canadian Author
  • Patrick Roy (b. 1965), Canadian hockey (NHL) goaltender from Quebec, Canada



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: Qua tendis
Motto Translation: Whither do you steer.


  1. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  2. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  3. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  4. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  5. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  6. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  9. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  10. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  11. ...

The Roy Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Roy 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 7 May 2014 at 07:57.

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