Birray History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Birray is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Birray family lived in the county of Devon, where the family settled after arriving in England with William the Conqueror at the time of the Norman Conquest of England. The name is derived from the phrase at the Bury which has evolved to the more modern term borough.
Early Origins of the Birray family
The surname Birray was first found in Devon, in the parish of Berry-Pomeroy and before that Berry or Berri was the appellation of one of the old provinces of France.   Another source notes "scattered disconnectedly over England. It is most numerous in Lancashire, and afterwards in the counties of Northampton, Warwick, and Devon. Probably it is usually derived from places, Berry being the name of a Devonshire parish, whilst Bury is the name of towns and localities in Lancashire, Suffolk, etc." 
Early History of the Birray family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Birray research. Another 75 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1450, 1781, 1873, 1635, 1690, 1675, 1691, 1636 and are included under the topic Early Birray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Birray Spelling Variations
Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Berry, Bery, Berey, De Berry and others.
Early Notables of the Birray family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Berry, High Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1450; Sir Thomas Berry of Buckland; Alexander Berry (1781-1873), Scottish surgeon, merchant, and explorer after whom the Australian town is named; Sir John Berry (1635-1690), English naval officer of the Royal Navy, and was in 1675 the captain of the annual convoy to Newfoundland; and Major-General James Berry (d. 1691), English Parliamentary officer who fought in the English Civil War.
On the more infamous side, it is claimed that Charlotte de Berry (born 1636) was an English female...
Another 92 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Birray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Birray family to Ireland
Some of the Birray family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Birray family
Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Birray or a variant listed above: Edward Berry who settled in Virginia in 1654; as did Elizabeth 1636; Henry 1650; John 1626; Lydia 1648; Mathew 1650; Richard 1654; and others settled in Maryland, Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina New England, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and New York.
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: Nihil sine labore
Motto Translation: Nothing without labour.
- Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.
- Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.