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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, German


The origins of the Frey surname date from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name originated with an early member who was a person who was referred to as the fry, which literally means free. It has also been suggested that Frey comes from the Middle English word fry, meaning "small person," or "child." In either instance, the origins of the name are as a nickname which referred to characteristics of the first person who used the name.

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

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Frey has been recorded under many different variations, including Fry, Frye, Free and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Frey research. Another 173 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1307, 1312, 1474, 1609, 1657, 1666, 1748, 1777, 1861, 1780 and 1845 are included under the topic Early Frey History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 159 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Frey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Frey family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 31 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Frey or a variant listed above:

Frey Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • John Frey, who landed in New England in 1634
  • Humphry Frey, who landed in Virginia in 1639
  • Elis Frey, who arrived in Virginia in 1663
  • Henry Frey, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1685
  • Catharine Frey, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1687

Frey Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Anna Barbara Frey, who arrived in New York City with her two children in 1709
  • Anna Barbara Frey, who arrived in New York, NY in 1709
  • Henrich Frey, who arrived in New York, NY in 1709
  • Heinrich Frey, who arrived in New York in 1709
  • Tobias Frey, who arrived in America in 1727


Frey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Mr. Frey, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1805
  • Mrs. Frey, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1805
  • Mathias Frey, who landed in Maryland in 1825
  • Louis Frey, who arrived in Ohio in 1828
  • Johann August Frey, aged 35, arrived in America in 1843


Frey Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Capt. Bernard Frey U.E. who settled in Home District [York County], Ontario c. 1786 he served in Butler's Ranger, married with 3 children

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  • Glenn Frey (1948-2016), American founding member of the rock group the Eagles; he won six Grammy Awards, and five American Music Awards
  • Perry A. Frey (b. 1935), American biochemist elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1998
  • Charles Frey, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1932
  • Carol L. Frey, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Delegate to Michigan State Constitutional Convention from 5th Senatorial District, 1961
  • Alexander J. Frey, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1860; Postmaster at York, Pennsylvania, 1861-65
  • Alexander Frey, American politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New York 5th District, 1878
  • A. B. Frey, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Missouri, 1940
  • Cyrus J. Frey, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Great Bend, Kansas, 1877-78
  • David Frey, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Pennsylvania State Senate 25th District, 1980
  • Edward R. Frey, American Democrat politician, Member of Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee, 1918-32; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1932, 1940 (alternate), 1944 (alternate), 1956, 1960, 1964

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  • Frey/Frei Family History by Dottie Shimonek Schiefelbein.
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  1. 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).
  2. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  5. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  6. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  7. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  10. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  11. ...

The Frey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Frey 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 19 January 2016 at 10:12.

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