Show ContentsEmbrey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The illustrious surname Embrey finds its origin in the rocky, sea swept coastal area of southwestern England known as Cornwall. Although surnames were fairly widespread in medieval England, people were originally known only by a single name. The process by which hereditary surnames were adopted is extremely interesting. As populations grew, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Under the Feudal System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Lords and their tenants often became known by the name of the feudal territory they owned or lived on. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. This was due to the heavy political and cultural influence of the English upon the Cornish People at the time that surnames first came into use. Local surnames were derived from where a person lived, held land, or was born. While many Cornish surnames of this sort appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames derived from lost or unrecorded place names. The name Embrey is a local type of surname and the Embrey family lived at the town of Embrough in Devon. The name is also classified as a baptismal name as in the son of Emery.

Early Origins of the Embrey family

The surname Embrey was first found in Devon where they held a family seat from very early times.

Early History of the Embrey family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Embrey research. Another 100 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1258, 1300, 1363 and 1379 are included under the topic Early Embrey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Embrey Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Embree, Embray, Embury, Embrey and others.

Early Notables of the Embrey family

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

Embrey Ranking

In the United States, the name Embrey is the 9,978th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 1

United States Embrey migration to the United States +

An investigation of the immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Embrey:

Embrey Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Henry Embrey, aged  20, from England who arrived in Virginia aboard the ship "America" arriving in June 1635 2
Embrey Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Agatha Embrey, aged 18, who arrived in America from Northwich, England, in 1909
  • Horace Embrey, aged 18, who arrived in America from Northwich, England, in 1912
  • Lottie Embrey, aged 27, who arrived in America from Barnton, England, in 1913
  • Percy Embrey, aged 17, who arrived in America from Halmerend, England, in 1913
  • Agatha Embrey, aged 22, who arrived in America from Barnton, England, in 1913
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Embrey (post 1700) +

  • Sue Kunitomi Embrey (1923-2006), born Sueko Kunitomi, American teacher, activist and long-time chair of the Manzanar Committee
  • James Lindsay Embrey Jr. (1925-2005), American real estate developer and philanthropist
  • Charles Akin "Slim" Embrey (1901-1947), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Chicago White Sox in 1923

USS Arizona
  • Mr. Bill Eugene Embrey, American Fireman Third Class from California, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking 3

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's. Retrieved January 6th 2023 from
  3. Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from on Facebook