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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

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 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 Ray research. Another 175 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1350, 1376, 1612, 1627, and 1705 are included under the topic Early Ray 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 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 274 words(20 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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  • 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
  • First Lieutenant Bernard J Ray, American officer awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1944
  • Man Emmanuel Rabinovich Ray (1890-1976), American painter
  • Mr. Ray (d. 1941), British Corporal, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died during the sinking
  • Mr. Harold George Ray (1920-1941), Australian Able Seaman from Spring Hill, Queensland, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking
  • Mr. Frederick Dent Ray, aged 32, English Saloon Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking by escaping in life boat 13
  • Robert "Rayzor" John Ray (b. 1968), Canadian sports broadcaster, former professional NHL ice hockey player, recipient of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy
  • Gabrielle Ray (1883-1973), English stage actress

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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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  1. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  2. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  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. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  5. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  6. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  8. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. 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. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  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 6 April 2015 at 15:20.

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