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

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

There are several possible origins for the distinguished surname Fleay. Firstly, the name may be derived from "Flée," the name of a place in the Cote-d'Or in France; in this case, the name would mean "one from Flée," and would have been brought to England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. Alternatively, the name may be derived from the Old English "fleah," meaning "flea"; in this instance, it is likely that the name was bestowed on the original bearer as a nickname.

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Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Flay, Flaye, Fleay and others.

First found in the southern counties of England. The earliest known bearer of the name was William Fleie, who was listed in the Feodarium Prioratus Dunelmensis of 1233.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fleay research. Another 210 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1233, 1332, 1620, and 1642 are included under the topic Early Fleay History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 29 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fleay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Fleay or a variant listed above: Marie Flaye, who immigrated to Louisiana with her family during the 18th century; and Walter Flay, who was recorded in the 1871 census of Ontario.

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  • Frederick Gard Fleay (1831-1909), Shakespeare scholar
  • Brian Fleay, Australian retired civil engineer who worked for over 30 years at the Water Authority of Western Australia
  • Clarence William Edward James "Clarrie" Fleay (1886-1955), Australian cricketer who in 1922, played for Western Australia
  • David Howells Fleay (1907-1993), Australian naturalist who pioneered the captive breeding of endangered species, and was the first person to breed the platypus


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  1. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  3. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  5. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  6. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  7. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  8. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  9. 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).
  10. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  11. ...

The Fleay Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Fleay 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 30 March 2015 at 09:43.

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