Cray History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cray was first used as a surname among the descendants of the ancient Scottish people known as the Picts. It was a name for a prosperous person. The Gaelic form of the surname Cray is Mac Rath, which literally means son of grace or son of prosperity.

Early Origins of the Cray family

The surname Cray was first found in Inverness-shire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Nis) divided between the present day Scottish Council Areas of Highland and Western Isles, and consisting of a large northern mainland area and various island areas off the west coast, the shire was anciently both a Pictish and Norwegian stronghold, but their ancient history is often clouded with conjecture. It appears certain that they lived before the 14th century at Clunes, to the west of Inverness in the territories of the Fraser Clan. Consequently the family has always been friendly towards that Clan. From about 1400, they moved to the location with which they are readily associated, Kintail.

Early History of the Cray family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cray research. Another 548 words (39 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1539, 1539, 1688, 1745, 1425, 1505, 1477, 1505, 1715, 1764 and 1778 are included under the topic Early Cray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cray Spelling Variations

Before the first dictionaries appeared in the last few hundred years, scribes spelled according to sound. spelling variations are common among Scottish names. Cray has been spelled MacCrae, MacCraith, MacCrath, MacCraw, MacCray, MacCrea, MacCree, MacCreight, MacCrie, MacReagh, MacRae, MacRay, MacRie and many more.

Early Notables of the Cray family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Finghin MacCarthy Reagh (c.1425-1505), the 8th Prince of Carbery from 1477 to 1505, belonged to the MacCarthy Reagh dynasty; the Earl of Seaforth who forfeited his lands in 1715, but in 1764 was allowed to buy the lands back from the Government. In gratitude he offered to raise a regiment to be known as the Seaforth Highlanders (the 78th Regiment). Composed largely of MacKenzies and MacRaes (always loyal supporters of the MacKenzies whose Chief commanded the Regiment), it was embodied at Elgin in May 1778...
Another 92 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Cray family to Ireland

Some of the Cray family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Cray migration to the United States +

In those unstable times, many had no choice but to leave their beloved homelands. Sickness and poverty hounded travelers to North America, but those who made it were welcomed with land and opportunity. These settlers gave the young nations of Canada and the United States a strong backbone as they stood up for their beliefs as United Empire Loyalists and in the American War of Independence. In this century, the ancestors of these brave Scots have begun to recover their illustrious heritage through Clan societies and other heritage organizations. Early passenger and immigration lists reveal many Scottish settlers bearing the name Cray:

Cray Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Tonis Cray, aged 42, who landed in New York in 1643 [1]
  • Myles Cray, who arrived in Virginia in 1661 [1]
  • Teunis Cray, who landed in New York in 1664 [1]
  • Henry Cray, who landed in Virginia in 1664 [1]
  • John Cray, who arrived in Virginia in 1666 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Cray Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Paul Cray, who settled in Virginia in 1732
  • Jacob Simon Cray, who settled in 1772
Cray Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John D Cray, aged 28, who landed in New York in 1812 [1]
  • John S. Cray, who settled in New York City in 1822

Australia Cray migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Cray Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Catharine Cray, English convict who was convicted in Surrey, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Buffalo" on 4th May 1833, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [2]
  • Peter Cray, who arrived in Holdfast Bay, Australia aboard the ship "Brightman" in 1840 [3]
  • Miss Ellen Cray, (Robinson, Jane) who was convicted in Durham, England for 7 years , transported aboard the "Aurora" on 22nd April 1851, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Cray (post 1700) +

  • Seymour R. Cray (1925-1996), American electrical engineer and supercomputer architect; his computers were the fastest in the world for decades, eponymous founder of Cray Research and the Cray Computer Corporation
  • Eric Shauwn Brazas Cray (b. 1988), Filipino American four-time gold medalist track and field athlete
  • Robert Cray, American blues musician/singer
  • Mary Cray, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1996 [5]
  • D. H. Cray, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Vermont, 1924 [5]
  • Andrew Cray, American Democrat politician, Chair of Hunterdon County Democratic Party, 1945 [5]


The Cray 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: Fortitudine
Motto Translation: With fortitude.


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/buffalo
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BRIGHTMAN 1840. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840Brightman.htm
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 28) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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