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

Origins Available: English, German

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

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.


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.

First found in Wiltshire where they held a family seat from very early times.


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.


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


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.


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


  • Glenn Frey (b. 1948), American founding member of the rock group the Eagles
  • James N. Frey (b. 1943), American writer and creative writing teacher
  • Louis Frey Jr. (b. 1934), American Congressman
  • Alexander Frey (b. 1972), American conductor
  • Darcy Frey, American writer
  • Perry A. Frey (b. 1935), American biochemist elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1998
  • Emil Frey (1838-1922), Swiss politician
  • Heinrich Frey (1822-1890), Swiss entomologist
  • Nicholas Frey (b. 1984), French athlete
  • Bruno S. Frey (b. 1941), Swiss economist



  • Frey/Frei Family History by Dottie Shimonek Schiefelbein.


  1. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  3. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  4. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  5. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  6. 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).
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  8. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  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 18 May 2015 at 08:28.

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