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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: Dutch, English

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.


The surname Claeys was 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.

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.


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 and printed products wherever possible.


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


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 and printed products wherever possible.


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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    Other References

    1. 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).
    2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
    3. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
    4. 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.
    5. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
    6. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
    7. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    8. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
    9. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
    10. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
    11. ...

    The Claeys Family Crest was acquired from the 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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