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

Origins Available: French, Scottish


The story of the name Abbey reaches back through Scottish history to the kingdom of Dalriada. The name evolved for a person who worked as a person who was a lay-abbot of a monastery. In the Middle Ages, this was the title held usually by the leading family of the village.

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Spelling variations are the result of the medieval practice of spelling according to sound and repeated translation between Gaelic and English. Many spelling variations of Abbey have been recorded over the years, including Abbey, Aba, Abbe, Abbie, Abey, Abbeys, Aby and others.

First found in the county of Angus, in the parish of Abbey, and Brechin, and the first record was of Donald Abbe of Brechin in 1178, who witnessed a charter with Turpin, Bishop of Brechin, and later he gifted the lands of Balegillegrand to the Abbey of Arbroath, which grant was confirmed by King William the Lion.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Abbey research. Another 137 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1219 and 1370 are included under the topic Early Abbey History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Numerous Scottish settlers settled along the east coast of the colonies that would become the United States and Canada. Others traveled to the open country of the west. At the time of the American War of Independence, some remained in the United States, while those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The highland games and Clan societies that sprang up across North America in the 20th century have helped many Scots to recover parts of their lost traditions. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Abbeys to arrive in North America:

Abbey Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Thomas Abbey, who arrived in Virginia in 1608
  • John Abbey, who landed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Sarah Abbey who settled in Barbados in 1679

Abbey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • William D Abbey, who landed in Arkansas in 1880

Abbey Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • Albert Abbey, aged 4, who emigrated to the United States from London, in 1906
  • Constantine Abbey, aged 35, who emigrated to America from Leeds, England, in 1914
  • Allan Abbey, aged 36, who landed in America, in 1918
  • Ann Abbey, aged 26, who settled in America from Essex, England, in 1919
  • Alban Abbey, aged 37, who landed in America, in 1919


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  • Sanford Winslow Abbey (b. 1857), American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Ontario County, 1890, 1910
  • Nelson Abbey, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Clarkston, Michigan, 1871
  • James L. Abbey, American Republican politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Chester
  • James B. Abbey, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from California 23rd District, 1942, 1944
  • Henry Abbey, American Democrat politician, Chair of Edwards County Democratic Party, 1950
  • Glenn Allan Abbey (1898-1962), American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Johannesburg, 1928-31; U.S. Consul General in Salonika, 1949-51
  • George W. Abbey, American politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Michigan 8th District, 1886
  • Elmer C. Abbey, American Republican politician, Secretary of Colorado Republican Party, 1937
  • Edmund Abbey, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from East Hartford, 1850
  • Leon Abbey (1900-1975), American jazz violinist and bandleader

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  1. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  3. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  4. 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.
  5. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  6. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
  9. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  10. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  11. ...

The Abbey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Abbey 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 4 November 2015 at 11:03.

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