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


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 surname Rae was 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]

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.


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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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  • Charlotte Rae (b. 1926), born Charlotte Rae Lubotsky, an American two-time Primetime Emmy Award nominated actor, known for her roles in The Facts of Life (1979), You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008) and Hair (1979) and for her portrayal of Edna Garrett in the sitcoms Diff'rent Strokes
  • 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
  • Gavin Paul Rae (b. 1977), Scottish footballer who has won 14 caps for Scotland between 2001 and 2009
  • Douglas Rae (b. 1947), Scottish television producer and executive
  • Duncan Douglas Faulds Rae (b. 1931), Scottish businessman, Chairman of the Golden Casket confectionery corporation

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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. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  5. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  6. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  7. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. 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. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  10. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 19 March 2016 at 13:17.

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