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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Where did the Scottish Rae family come from? When did the Rae family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Rae family history?

The saga of the name Rae begins with a Strathclyde-Briton family in the ancient 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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The many spelling variations in Medieval Scottish names result from the fact that scribes in that era spelled words according to sound. Translation too, was an undeveloped science, and many names were altered into complete obscurity. Over the years Rae has been spelled Rae, Rea, Ree, Ray and others.

First found in Cumberland at Gill, in the parish of Bromfield which belonged to the family from the time of William the Lion, king of Scotland (died 1214.) "Tradition says, that the original Ray was a faithful adherent of the Scottish monarch, by whom he was greatly esteemed, for his extraordinary swiftness of foot in pursuing the deer and who gave him the estate. The tenure was by a pepper-com rent, with the stipulation, that the name of William should be perpetuated in the family. This was strictly observed from generation to generation, until the latter half of the last [of the 18th] century, when the Mr. William Reay in possession gave to the ' hope of the house ' the name of John. " [1] Thomas filius Ray witnessed confirmation by Alexander, son of Walter, of his father's gift to the church of Paisley in 1239. [2] While there is no doubt of the family's origin in the north of England, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Reginald le Raye, in Oxfordshire; Nicholas le Ray in Suffolk; and Richard le Ray in Cambridgeshire. [3]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rae research. Another 319 words (23 lines of text) covering the years 1487, 1465, 1530, 1558, 1350, 1612, 1376, 1627, 1705 and are included under the topic Early Rae History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 79 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rae Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Rae family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 127 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the uncertainties and discrimination faced in Scotland, many decided to head out for North America. Once they arrived, many Scots fought with relish in the American War of Independence; some went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Many ancestors of these Scots have recovered their lost national heritage in the 20th century through Clan organizations and Scottish historical societies. Among the settlers to North America were:

Rae Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • John Rae who settled in Nevis in 1663
  • Robert Rae, who arrived in New Jersey in 1685

Rae Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • James Rae, who arrived in Virginia in 1716

Rae Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Frederick Rae, who arrived in America in 1810
  • Mary Rae, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812
  • Richard Rae, aged 27, landed in Virginia in 1812
  • Marion Rae, who landed in New York in 1818
  • George Rae, who landed in New York in 1818


Rae Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Jas Rae, who landed in Canada in 1821

Rae Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • John Rae, Scottish convict from Aberdeen, who was transported aboard the "America" on April 4, 1829, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • John Rae arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Glenswilly" in 1839
  • George Rae, aged 32, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Medina"
  • Charles Rae, aged 30, a plumber, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Caroline"
  • Janet Rae, aged 21, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1860 aboard the ship "Grand Trianon"

  • John Rae, aged 36, a farm servant, arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" in 1841850

Rae Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Elizabeth Rae, aged 21, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • Thomas Rae, aged 35, a farm labourer, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842
  • William Rae, aged 12, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842
  • Elizabeth Rae, aged 10, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842
  • Margaret Rae, aged 7, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842


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  • Tom Rae, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Wyoming, 1956
  • John W. Rae, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State House of Representatives from Washtenaw County 1st District, 1948
  • Jason Rae, American Democrat politician, Member of Democratic National Committee from Wisconsin, 2008; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Wisconsin, 2008
  • J. Thomas Rae, American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Pernambuco, 1943
  • Archibald Rae, American Republican politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Bronx County 6th District, 1925
  • Heather Rae (b. 1966), American film producer, director, and actress
  • Charlotte Rae (b. 1926), American actor
  • John Rae (1845-1915), Scottish journalist and biographer
  • Mr. William Rae (d. 1941), British Stoker 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died during the sinking
  • Brigadier Cecil Alexander Rae (1889-1966), Canadian Deputy Director Medical Services II Canadian Corps, England - Italy

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  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)

Other References

  1. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  2. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  3. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  4. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  5. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  6. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  7. 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.
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 25 January 2016 at 19:53.

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