Fry History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Anglo-Saxon culture once found in Britain is the soil from which the many generations of the Fry family have grown. The name Fry was given to a member of the family who was a person who was referred to as the fry, which literally means free. It has also been suggested that Fry 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. [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Fry family

The surname Fry was first found in Wiltshire where the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 has two listings: Thomas le Frye; and Geoffrey le Frye as both holding lands there at that time.

Another source notes that William Frie was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Sussex in 1195 and Robert le Frye was listed in Warwickshire c. 1248. [3]

In Cornwall, the Cornish version of the name denotes "a hill, a town or house on the most prominent part of a hill or eminence." [4]

"Of the old Wiltshire families of yeomen, few can boast a greater antiquity, and few have shown more love of their county by remaining in it, than those bearing the name of Fry. Numerous as they now are, especially around Chippenham, we find that as far back as in the reigns of Henry III. and Edward I., the Fryes or Fries found in Wiltshire their main abode. The Frys of Ashgrove, in the parish of Donhead St. Mary, appear to be one of the parent stocks; they gave the burial ground for Quakers in that parish, which has been used for this purpose ever since the Society of Friends was first established in England." [5]

The famed English prison reformer Elizabeth Fry, (1780-1845) born Elizabeth Gurney, hailed from Norfolk into a prominent Quaker family. After her first visit to Newgate Prison in 1813, she was horrified and vowed to make changes. One of her admirers, Queen Victoria granted her an audience that led to the Gaols Act of 1823. England still regards her with so much importance that her likeness appeared on the £5 note from 2001 to 2016.

Early History of the Fry family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fry research. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1307, 1312, 1461, 1426, 1448, 1474, 1609, 1657, 1666, 1748, 1777, 1861, 1780 and 1845 are included under the topic Early Fry History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fry Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Fry family name include Fry, Frye, Free and others.

Early Notables of the Fry family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir John Fray (died 1461), an English lawyer who served as Baron of the Exchequer from 1426 and Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer in 1448; Walter Frye (c. died 1474), an English composer of the early Renaissance; John Fry (1609-1657), Member of the English Parliament and sat as...
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fry Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Fry family to Ireland

Some of the Fry family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Fry migration to the United States +

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Fry surname or a spelling variation of the name include :

Fry Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Fry, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Alice Fry, who settled in Virginia in 1650
  • Alex Fry, who landed in Virginia in 1650 [6]
  • Tho Fry, who arrived in Virginia in 1650 [6]
  • William Fry, who landed in Virginia in 1663 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Fry Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Peregrin Fry, who landed in Virginia in 1701 [6]
  • Christopher Fry, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1729 [6]
  • Hance Uldrick Fry, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1729 [6]
  • Hans Peter Fry, aged 4, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1733 [6]
  • Elizabeth Fry, aged 9, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1733 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Fry Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Joh Fry, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1803 [6]
  • John F Fry, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1806 [6]
  • William Fry, who arrived in America in 1811 [6]
  • John Fry, who arrived in Maryland in 1813 [6]
  • Henry Fry, who landed in Maryland in 1813 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Fry Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Nathan Fry, who arrived in Mississippi in 1903 [6]
  • Michael Fry, who landed in Alabama in 1916 [6]
  • Joseph Fry, who arrived in Alabama in 1919 [6]

Canada Fry migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Fry Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Abiel Fry, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Simon Fry, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Francis Fry was married in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1777 [7]
  • Conna] Fry, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1778
  • Mr. William Fry U.E. who settled in Beaver Harbour, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 [8]
Fry Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Richard Fry from England was married in King's Cove, Newfoundland in 1820 [7]
Fry Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Mrs. Fry, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907
  • W Fry, who landed in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907

Australia Fry migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Fry Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Fry, a stonemason, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Enoch Fry, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Winchester" in 1838 [9]
  • Hannah Fry, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Winchester" in 1838 [9]
  • Martha Fry, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Winchester" in 1838 [9]
  • John Fry, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Winchester" in 1838 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Fry migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Fry Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Fry, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Ann Fry, aged 24, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1842
  • Henry Thomas Fry, aged 1 month, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1842
  • Joshua Fry, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1843
  • Richard Fry, aged 30, a carpenter, who arrived in Otago aboard the ship "John Wickliffe" in 1848
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Fry (post 1700) +

  • Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845), née Gurney, English prison reformer, born at Earlham in Norfolk, 21 May 1780, third daughter of John Gurney, banker in Norwich, often been referred to as the "angel of prisons". she was a powerful force in prison reforms and was supported by Queen Victoria
  • John Hayden Fry (1929-2019), American college football player and coach, inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2003
  • Taylor McQuiston Fry (b. 1981), American child actress, known for her roles in Die Hard, North, and A Little Princess
  • William J. Fry, American Democrat politician, Presidential Elector for Ohio, 1848
  • William H. Fry, American politician, U.S. Consul in Lambayeque, 1884
  • William E. Fry, American Republican politician, Presidential Elector for Illinois, 1904
  • William Fry, American Democrat politician, Member of Pennsylvania State Senate 9th District, 1853-55
  • Velma Fry, American Republican politician, Presidential Elector for Iowa, 1972
  • Thomas S. Fry (b. 1902), American politician, Mayor of Mobile, Alabama, 1900-02; Died in office 1902
  • Thomas Fry, American politician, Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Deputies, 1713-14, 1717-18, 1722, 1724, 1725-26, 1727, 1729-30
  • ... (Another 69 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Flight TWA 800
  • Ms. Carol Fry (d. 1996), from Montoursville, Pennsylvania, USA, American chaperone for the students from Montoursville flying aboard flight TWA 800 from J.F.K. Airport, New York to Leonardo da Vinci Airport, Rome when the plane crashed after takeoff ; she died in the crash [10]
HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Robert Aubrey Fry (1921-1941), Australian Stoker from Burwood, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [11]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. John C Fry (b. 1920), English Ordinary Coder serving for the Royal Navy from Bristol, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [12]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. John Richard Fry (d. 1912), aged 39, English First Class passenger from Liverpool, Merseyside who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [13]


Suggested Readings for the name Fry +

  • 774 Can You Find Me: A Family History by Christopher Fry, Descendants of Peter Fry, Born 1787, York and Adams Counties, PA by Nancy Fry Carter, Some Descendants of John Fry, Late of Licking County, Ohio by Charles Recker.

  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  5. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  6. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  7. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  8. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) WINCHESTER 1838. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1838Winchester.htm
  10. ^ The Washington Post Passenger List TWA Flight 800. (Retrieved 2018, February 15th). Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/twa800/list01.htm
  11. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  12. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  13. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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