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

Origins Available: Dutch, English

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

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.


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.

First found in Lincolnshire where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Claeys research. Another 208 words(15 lines of text) covering the year 1086 is included under the topic Early Claeys History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Claeys family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 129 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


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 came to Illinois in 1910
  • Charles Claeys, who came to Arkansas in 1918
  • Leraphiem Claeys, who settled in Arkansas in 1918


  • 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


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.


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  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  3. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  4. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  5. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  6. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  7. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  8. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  9. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  10. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  11. ...

The Claeys Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Claeys 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 December 2014 at 08:28.

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