Geye History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Geye is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Geye family 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 Geye family

The surname Geye 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 Geye family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Geye 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 Geye History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Geye Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Gay, Gaye and others.

Early Notables of the Geye family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Geye family

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Geye or a variant listed above: James Gay who settled in Virginia in 1623; followed by William in 1630; William Gay settled in Barbados in 1670; John and Abell Gay settled in Barbados in 1685.



  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


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