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

Origins Available: French, Scottish

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

The saga of the name Ray 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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Spelling and translation were hardly exact sciences in Medieval Scotland. Sound, rather than any set of rules, was the basis for spellings, so one name was often spelled different ways even within a single document. Spelling variations are thus an extremely common occurrence in Medieval Scottish names. Ray 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 Ray 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 Ray 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 Ray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Ray 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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Such hard times forced many to leave their homeland in search of opportunity across the Atlantic. Many of these families settled along the east coast of North America in communities that would become the backbones of the young nations of the United States and Canada. The ancestors of many of these families have rediscovered their roots in the 20th century through the establishment of Clan societies and other patriotic Scottish organizations. Among them:

Ray Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Simon Ray settled in Massachusetts in 1620
  • Simon Ray, who settled in Massachusetts in 1620
  • Abram Ray, who settled in Barbados in 1635
  • Samuel Ray, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1637
  • Benj Ray, who arrived in Virginia in 1638


Ray Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Sarah Ray, who landed in Virginia in 1702
  • Isaac Ray, who landed in New England in 1720
  • Daniel Ray, who came to Virginia in 1731
  • Joseph Ray, who arrived in Virginia in 1740
  • Michel Ray, who settled in Boston in 1764

Ray Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Mary Ray, aged 24, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1805
  • Thomas W Ray, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Hugh Ray, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Daniel Ray, aged 50, arrived in North Carolina in 1812
  • Duncan Ray, aged 47, arrived in North Carolina in 1813


Ray Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Ann Ray, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Honor Ray, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • James Ray, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • William Ray, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750

Ray Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Francis Ray, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1817
  • Margaret Ray, who arrived in Canada in 1823
  • William Ray arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Eleanor" in 1834
  • Eliza Ray arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Eleanor" in 1834

Ray Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Frederick Ray, English Convict from Berkshire, who was transported aboard the "Aboukir" on December 24, 1851, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • John Ray, aged 34, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Standard"
  • William Ray, aged 30, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Standard"
  • Sarah Ray, aged 21, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Pestonjee Bomanjee"
  • Elizabeth Ray, aged 20, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Stamboul"


Ray Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Mary Ray, aged 21, arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ballochmyle" in 1874
  • Jane Ray, aged 19, a housemaid, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Berar" in 1875

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  • Frank P. Ray (d. 1905), American politician, Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from Crawford County, 1903-05
  • Jimmy Ray Jr. (b. 1969), birth name of Roman Artiste, an American film and television actor, screenwriter, film director
  • Gene Anthony Ray (1962-2003), American actor, dancer, and choreographer, best known for his work on the Fame movie and television series
  • Marguerite "Dixy Lee" Ray (1914-1994), American politician, the 17th Governor of the U.S. State of Washington
  • Richard Ray, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1964
  • Richard A. Ray, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Georgia, 2000, 2004, 2008; Member of Democratic National Committee from Georgia, 2004-08
  • Richard Belmont Ray (1927-1999), American Democrat politician, Mayor of Perry, Georgia, 1964-70; U.S. Representative from Georgia 3rd District, 1983-93; Defeated, 1992
  • Robert Ray, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Indiana, 1948 (alternate), 1952
  • Robert D. Ray (b. 1928), American Republican politician, Iowa Republican State Chair, 1964; Governor of Iowa, 1969-83; Delegate to Republican National Convention from Iowa, 1972
  • Robert E. Ray, American politician, Representative from California 4th District, 2000

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  • Bound For the Promised Land: History of the Ray and Armstrong Families by Joan Cervenka Cob.
  • The Wests and the Rays and Allied Lines: Southern Families from the Colonies to Texas by Nan Overton West.
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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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Ray Coat of Arms/Family Crest Key-chainRay Coat of Arms/Family Crest Key-chain
Ray Coat of Arms/Family Crest Coffee MugRay Coat of Arms/Family Crest Coffee Mug
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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. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  3. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  4. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
  5. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  6. 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.
  7. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  8. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  9. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  10. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  11. ...

The Ray Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Ray 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 2 February 2016 at 03:14.

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