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

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

A Strathclyde-Briton family from the Scottish/English Borderlands was the first to use the surname Reay. It is a name for a person known as a timid or shy person. Further research revealed that the name is derived from the Old English word ray, that referred to a roe or female deer.

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The origin of rules governing the spelling of names and even words is a very recent innovation. Before that, words and names were spelled according to sound, and, therefore, often appeared under several different spelling variations in a single document. Reay has been spelled Rae, Rea, Ree, Ray and others.

First found in Dumfriesshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Dhn Phris), a Southern area, bordering on England that today forms part of the Dumfries and Galloway Council Area, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Reay research. Another 175 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1350, 1376, 1612, 1627, and 1705 are included under the topic Early Reay History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 41 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Reay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Reay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 274 words(20 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The persecution faced in their homeland left many Scots with little to do but sail for the colonies of North America. There they found land, freedom, opportunity, and nations in the making. They fought for their freedom in the American War of Independence, or traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In both cases, they made enormous contributions to the formation of those great nations. Among them:

Reay Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Jane Reay, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746

Reay Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Jamison Reay, aged 26, arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1849
  • Alexander Reay, aged 18, arrived in New York in 1862
  • George Reay, aged 53, landed in New York in 1862
  • Margt Reay, aged 53, arrived in New York in 1862
  • Mary Reay, aged 19, landed in New York in 1862


Reay Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Marianne Reay arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Union" in 1843
  • Charles Reay arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Union" in 1843
  • Jane Reay arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Union" in 1843

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  • Donald P. Reay (1914-2002), American Professor of Architecture, Emeritus
  • Ryan Hunter Reay (b. 1980), American auto racer now racing for the Indy Racing League
  • Billy Reay (b. 1918), Canadian NHL hockey player and coach
  • Christopher Reay, New Zealand professional basketball player
  • Mrs. Mary Reay (1851-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917


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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: In omnia promptus
Motto Translation: Ready for everything.

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  1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  2. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  3. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  4. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  5. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  6. 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).
  7. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  8. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  9. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  10. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  11. ...

The Reay Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Reay 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 13 November 2014 at 16:21.

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