Show ContentsDey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Dey surname seems to have come from a few sources: it was an occupational name for a dairy maid in some parts of England and Scotland; it was a derivation from David; and in some cases the name came from the word eye (d'eye). The same source claims that name was could have been an occupational name as in 'the deye' or 'day,' a maid, a dairy-maid. [1] Over in Normandy pre-Conquest times, we found "St. John de Day, near St. Lo, in the Cotentin [Peninsula.] " [2] This peninsula is now known as Cherbourg Peninsula.

Early Origins of the Dey family

The surname Dey was first found in Somerset where one of the first records of the name was Leofgife oa Dagean c. 1055. Godiua Daia was listed c. 1095 in Suffolk and Aluric Dai was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Buckinghamshire in 1196. A few years later, Ralph Deie was among those listed in the Register of the Freemen of Leicester in 1211. [3]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 list the following: Willelmus Dey; Ricardus Dey; and Thomas le Dey. [1]

Early History of the Dey family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dey research. Another 53 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1269, 1277, 1379, 1529, 1596, 1501, 1556, 1537, 1538, 1574, 1638, 1605, 1673, 1522, 1584, 1549, 1553, 1582, 1584, 1610, 1668, 1639, 1639, 1649 and 1797 are included under the topic Early Dey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dey Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Day, Dea, Dey, Daye, Deie and others.

Early Notables of the Dey family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: William Day (1529-1596), an English clergyman, Provost of Eton College, Bishop of Winchester; George Day (ca.1501-1556), Bishop of Chichester, Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University (1537-1538); John Day (1574-1638?), an English dramatist from Norfolk; and Francis Day (1605-1673), an English colonial administrator, associated with the East India Company. John Day (Daye) (c. 1522-1584), was an English Protestant printer. He was "one of the earliest of English musical typographers, began printing about 1549 in Holborn, a little above the Conduit. He afterwards dwelt 'over Aldersgate beneath Saint Martyns,' and subsequently had a shop in St. Paul's Churchyard...
Another 146 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dey Ranking

In the United States, the name Dey is the 10,779th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Dey family to Ireland

Some of the Dey family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 63 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 Dey migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Dey Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Dey, who landed in Virginia in 1664 [5]
Dey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • J L Dey, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1855 [5]
  • Susanna Dey, aged 23, who arrived in New York, NY in 1856 [5]
  • Joost Dey, aged 23, who arrived in New York, NY in 1856 [5]
  • Richard Dey, who landed in Iowa in 1888 [5]

New Zealand Dey migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

  • John Dey, aged 34, a farmer, who arrived in New Plymouth aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" between 1841 and 1850

Contemporary Notables of the name Dey (post 1700) +

  • Joseph C. "Joe" Dey Jr. (1907-1991), American golf administrator, first Commissioner of the PGA Tour (1969-1974), eponym of the Joe Dey Award, inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame
  • Thomas Ridgeway "Tom" Dey (b. 1965), American film director, known for Shanghai Noon (2000), Showtime (2002) and Failure to Launch (2006)
  • Susan Dey (b. 1952), born Susan Hallock Smith, American Golden Globe winning actress, probably best known for her role as Laurie Partridge, on the 1970s sitcom The Partridge Family, and as Grace Van Owen, on L.A. Law, from 1986 to 1992
  • Theunis Dey, American politician, Member of New Jersey State Council from Bergen County, 1779-81 [6]
  • Peter Anthony Dey (1825-1911), American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Iowa, 1876 [6]
  • J. Ramsey Dey, American Republican politician, Mayor of Jacksonville, Florida, 1880-81 [6]
  • E. P. Dey, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1864 [6]
  • Cecil A. Dey, American politician, Supervisor of Handy Township, Michigan, 1916 [6]
  • Geoff Dey (b. 1964), English former professional football midfielder from Chesterfield
  • Graeme Dey, Scottish politician, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Angus South (2011-)
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. 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)
  6. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 10) . Retrieved from on Facebook