Claeys History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Today's generation of the Claeys family bears a name that was brought to England by the migration wave that was started by the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Claeys family lived in Lincolnshire, where they held a family seat at Claye.
Early Origins of the Claeys family
The surname Claeys was first found in Lincolnshire where the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list William del Cley and Robert del Clay as holding lands there at that time. The same rolls also listed Alicia in le Clay, Huntingdonshire. 
Later, in Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included: Agnes del Clay; Johannes del Clay; and Adam del Clay, Howdenshire. 
"Clay has long been a Notts surname. It was represented in the parish of Hayton in the time of Henry VII. Hercules Clay was a mayor of Newark in the reign of Charles I. (S.), and Clay is still a Newark name. The Clays of Southwell during last century carried their pedigree back 200 years, and their name is yet in the town. Six centuries ago Clay was a common name in the east of England, especially in Essex, Lincolnshire, Hunts, Cambridgeshire, and Beds. It is still well established in Lincolnshire, as well as in Notts and Derbyshire." 
Early History of the Claeys family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Claeys research. Another 78 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1457 and 1537 are included under the topic Early Claeys History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Claeys Spelling Variations
Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Claeys include Clay, Claye, Cley, Cleye, McClay and others.
Early Notables of the Claeys family (pre 1700)
Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Claeys Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Claeys family to Ireland
Some of the Claeys family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Claeys migration to the United States +
In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Claeyss to arrive on North American shores:
Claeys Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Jean Claeys, who arrived in 1855
Claeys Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
- Leo Claeys, who arrived in Illinois in 1900
- Henry Claeys, who settled in Illinois in 1902
- Julius Claeys, who settled in Illinois in 1910
- Charles Claeys, who settled in Arkansas in 1918
- Leraphiem Claeys, who settled in Arkansas in 1918
- ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Contemporary Notables of the name Claeys (post 1700) +
- Tracy Claeys (b. 1968), American college football coach
- Gregory Claeys, British Professor of the History of Political Thought at Royal Holloway, University of London
- Arno Claeys (b. 1994), Belgian footballer who currently plays for K.V. Kortrijk
- Alain Claeys (b. 1948), French politician, Member of the Socialist Party, Mayor of Poitiers since 2008
- Philip Claeys (b. 1965), Belgian politician, Member of the European Parliament for Flanders
- Geoffrey Claeys (b. 1974), Australian footballer who played from 1992 through 2009
Related Stories +
The Claeys Motto +
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: Per orbem
Motto Translation: Through the world.
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.