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Origins Available: Belgium, English, French


The name Gay came to England with the ancestors of the Gay family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Gay family lived in Oxfordshire. Their name, however, derives from their place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, Gaye le Manche, France.

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

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Gay, Gaye and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gay research. Another 361 words (26 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1086, 1176, 1191, 1191, 1203, 1420, 1452, 1685, 1732, 1685, 1732 and 1728 are included under the topic Early Gay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Another 32 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Gay or a variant listed above:

Gay Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Thomas Gay, who landed in Virginia in 1622
  • James Gay who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • James Gay, who arrived in Virginia in 1623
  • William Gay settled in Virginia in 1630
  • William Gay, aged 20, arrived in Virginia in 1635
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Gay Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Pierre Gay, aged 20, landed in Louisiana in 1719
  • Anne Gay settled in Maryland in 1723
  • Samuel Gay, who landed in Virginia in 1740
  • Jacob Gay, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1765
  • William Gay, who landed in Virginia in 1772
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Gay Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • I Gay, aged 34, landed in New Orleans, La in 1830
  • Francis Gay, who landed in Mobile County, Ala in 1840
  • A W Gay, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1849
  • J Gay, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Joe Gay, who arrived in Texas in 1850
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Gay Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century

  • Francois Gay, aged 22, landed in Quebec in 1671

Gay Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Samuel Gay, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1778
  • Mr. Edward Gay U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1784
  • Mr. Samuel Gay U.E. born in Massachusetts, USA who settled in Westmoreland County, New Brunswick c. 1784 he was Chief Justice of Court Common Pleas

Gay Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • John H Gay, who landed in Esquimalt, British Columbia in 1862

Gay Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Gay arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Recovery" in 1839
  • Jane Gay arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Forfarshire" in 1848
  • Catherine Gay arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Navarino" in 1848
  • Isaac Gay, aged 33, a farm labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Marion"
  • John Gay, aged 22, a painter, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Omega"
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Gay Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • John Gay landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1844 aboard the ship Fifeshire
  • Major Gay arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Nimroud" in 1860
  • George Gay, aged 20, a gardener, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Berar" in 1873
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  • Peter Gay (1923-2015), born Peter Joachim Fröhlich, an American educator and writer, Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University
  • Tyson Gay (b. 1982), American nine-time gold medalist track and field sprinter
  • Rudy Carlton Gay Jr. (b. 1986), American NBA professional basketball player
  • Randall "Blue" Jerome Gay Jr. (b. 1982), retired American NFL football cornerback
  • Joseph Brian Gay (b. 1971), American PGA professional golfer
  • Laurance Gay, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Connecticut, 2000
  • Leon S. Gay, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Vermont, 1932
  • Lorraine E. Gay, American Democrat politician, Candidate for New York State Senate 1st District, 1954
  • Maude Clark Gay (b. 1877), American Republican politician, Member of Maine State House of Representatives, 1927-28; Member of Maine Republican State Committee, 1928
  • Milus H. Gay, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 7th District, 1881-83
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Gay Historic Events



Halifax Explosion

  • Mrs. Adeline Elizabeth  Gay (1861-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mr. Ernest Charles Roy  Gay (1887-1917), Canadian resident from Tufts Cove, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
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  • John Gay of Wiltshire, England and the Town of Elba, Dodge County, Wisconsin and Some of His Descendants in America by Grace Gay Sponem.
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Citations



    Other References

    1. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
    2. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
    3. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
    4. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
    5. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
    6. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    7. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    8. 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).
    9. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
    10. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
    11. ...

    The Gay Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gay 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 26 May 2016 at 01:50.

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