Show ContentsGaye History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Gaye family name begins after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They lived in Surrey. Their name, however, derives from their place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, Gaye le Manche, France. [1]

Alternatively, the name could have been derived from the Old French "gal" meaning "full of joy, lighthearted" [2]

Early Origins of the Gaye family

The surname Gaye was first found in Surrey where Oswald le Gay was listed in the Pipe Rolls there in 1176. A few years later, Gilbert Gay was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Lincolnshire in 1191.

Other early records include: Hilda de Gay in the Pipe Rolls for Oxfordshire in 1192; and William de Gaia in the Assize Rolls for Staffordshire in 1203. [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list: Adam le Gay, Oxfordshire; and Robert le Gay, Oxfordshire. [2]

And in Somerset, William Gay was listed there 1 Edward III (during the first year of the reign of King Edward III.) [3]

In Scotland, the first record of the family was "John Gy, chaplain in Dundee, 1452, [who] may be John Gy who appears as presbyter in Brechin, 1458." [4]

The celebrated Beggars' Opera was written in 1727 by John Gay, who was said to have been instigated to its production by a feeling of annoyance at having been offered a court appointment which he regarded as beneath him. [5]

Early History of the Gaye family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gaye research. Another 181 words (13 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 Gaye History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gaye Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Gay, Gaye and others.

Early Notables of the Gaye family (pre 1700)

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

Gaye Ranking

In France, the name Gaye is the 4,457th most popular surname with an estimated 1,500 - 2,000 people with that name. [6]

United States Gaye migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Gaye or a variant listed above were:

Gaye Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Gaye, who landed in Virginia in 1664 [7]

Australia Gaye migration to Australia +

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

Gaye Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Anne Gaye, aged 19, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Agincourt"

Contemporary Notables of the name Gaye (post 1700) +

  • Lisa Gaye (1935-2016), stage name of Leslie Gaye Griffin, an American actress, singer, and dancer
  • Frankie Gaye (1941-2001), American recording artist, brother of Marvin Gaye
  • Gregory Gaye (1900-1993), Russian-born, American actor
  • Nona Marvisa Gaye (b. 1974), American singer, former fashion model, and screen actress, best known for her portrayal of Zee in the science fiction films The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, daughter of Marvin Gaye
  • Anna Ruby Gordy Gaye (1922-2014), American businesswoman, composer and songwriter, wife of Marvin Gaye
  • Marvin Gaye (1939-1984), born Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr., an American Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter and musician, awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • Angus Gaye (1959-2022), birth name of Drummie Zeb, English musician and drummer and lead singer for the reggae band Aswad
  • Melina Gaye Bath (b. 1966), Australian politician and former schoolteacher, Member of the Victorian Legislative Council for Eastern Victoria Region (2015-)
  • Teresa Gaye Weatherspoon (b. 1965), former American WNBA basketball player, voted by fans as one of the Top 15 players in WNBA history
  • Marvin Gaye Chetwynd (b. 1973), British artist, nominated for the Turner Prize in 2012

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  4. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  5. Grove, Sir George, A Dictionary of Music and Musicians (AD. 1450-1889) London: Macmillan1902, Print, 2 Vols
  7. 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) on Facebook