Gray History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Gray is a name, who ancestors come from the noble Boernician clans of the Scottish-English border region. It is a name for a person who had gray hair. In Scotland, the surname Gray actually came from two different derivations. As a nickname, it came from the Gaelic word riabhach, which means gray. As a habitational name, it derived from the place named Graye, in Calvados. This place-name came from the Gallo-Roman personal name, Gratus, which means welcome or pleasing. Gray is therefore a nickname and a habitation name, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames.

Early Origins of the Gray family

The surname Gray was first found in Northumberland, with Anschatel Groy of Haute Saone, Normandy, who fought with William the Conqueror in 1066 AD. After the conquest, Anschatel Groy settled in Chillingham, Northumberland. He was from the department of Haute Saone called Gray, sometimes Groy, or Croy, in Normandy.

From this house sprang the Grays of Suffolk, Kent, Tankerville, and Stamford. Some of the earliest records of the name include: Richard de Grey (born c. 1140); and his son, Sir Henry de Grey of Grays Thurrock, Essex (1155-1219), a favourite courtier of King John of England; and his son, Richard de Grey (died 1271) of Codnor, Derbyshire, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports in 1258; and his brother Sir John de Grey (died 1266), an English soldier and High Sheriff of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire (1238-1239) and of High Sheriff of Herefordshire (1252-1253).

John de Gray (died 1214) was Bishop of Norwich in Norfolk, and later became Archbishop of Canterbury, but was never confirmed. Backworth in Northumberland was home to one branch of the family. "This place formerly belonged to Tynemouth priory, and afterwards to the Grey family, by whom it was sold to the late Duke of Northumberland, for £95,000." [1]

Barcombe in Sussex was another ancient family seat. "It comprises 3106 acres, whereof 305 are common or waste; and is bounded on the east by the river Ouse, on which is a flour-mill that has existed since the Conquest, and has been for more than a century in the possession of the family of Mr. Russell Gray, who has also established an extensive oilmill at an expense of £10,000." [1]

Early History of the Gray family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gray research. Another 119 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1248, 1250, 1296, 1390, 1469, 1445, 1387, 1439, 1416, 1490, 1451, 1501, 1454, 1505, 1490, 1505, 1590, 1660, 1599, 1673, 1611, 1676, 1660, 1676, 1623, 1657, 1674, 1621, 1622 and are included under the topic Early Gray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gray Spelling Variations

Boernician names that evolved in the largely preliterate Middle Ages are often marked by considerable spelling variations. Gray has been spelled Gray, Grey, Groy, Croy, Graye and others.

Early Notables of the Gray family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was Andrew Gray, 1st Lord Gray (c.1390-1469), a Scottish nobleman, politician and diplomat; Sir Andrew Gray (d. 1445) of Fowlis, Perthshire; Sir John Grey KG (c.1387-1439), English nobleman and soldier; Edmund Grey (1416-1490), English nobleman; Thomas Grey KG (1451-1501), 7th Baron Ferrers of Groby, 1st Earl of Huntingdon, and 1st Marquess of Dorset, an English nobleman and courtier; George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent (1454-1505), the son of Edmund Grey, 1st Earl of Kent and Lady Katherine Percy, was the Second Earl of Kent from 1490 to 1505; Nicholas Grey (c.1590-1660), English headmaster of...
Another 106 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gray World Ranking

In the United States, the name Gray is the 69th most popular surname with an estimated 263,622 people with that name. [2] However, in Canada, the name Gray is ranked the 116th most popular surname with an estimated 25,831 people with that name. [3] And in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Gray is the 674th popular surname with an estimated 65 people with that name. [4] Australia ranks Gray as 65th with 34,959 people. [5] New Zealand ranks Gray as 44th with 5,402 people. [6] The United Kingdom ranks Gray as 66th with 68,615 people. [7]

Ireland Migration of the Gray family to Ireland

Some of the Gray family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Gray migration to the United States +

Some of the Boernician-Scottish Clan families who came to North America were Loyalists who went north to Canada after the American War of Independence. Families on both sides of the border went on to found two of the world's great nations. This century, families with Scottish roots have rediscovered their heritage through highland games and clan societies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Gray or a variant listed above:

Gray Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Abraham Gray, who landed in America in 1620 [8]
  • Stephen Gray, who landed in Maryland in 1634-1641 [8]
  • Mr. Richard Gray, (b. 1614), aged 21, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Constance" arriving in Virginia in 1635 [9]
  • Francis Gray who settled in Virginia in 1635 with his wife Alice
  • Tha Gray, who landed in Virginia in 1638 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Gray Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Sarah Gray, who landed in Virginia in 1722 [8]
Gray Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Walter Gray, who landed in New York, NY in 1811 [8]
  • William Gray, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1813 [8]
  • Zachariah Gray, who landed in New York in 1834 [8]
  • Adam Gray, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1836 [8]
  • Adolph Gray, aged 36, who arrived in Missouri in 1840 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Gray migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gray Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. James Gray U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on October 26, 1783 was passenger number 200 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on September 28, 1783 at Staten Island, New York [10]
  • Mr. John Gray U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1784 [10]
  • Mr. John Gray U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784 [10]
  • Mr. Joseph Gray U.E. (b. 1729) born in Massachusetts, USA from Boston, Massachusetts, USA who settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia c. 1784 he died in 1803, married to Mary Gerrish they had 13 children [10]
  • Mr. Justus Gray U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Gray Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • George Gray, aged 60, a farmer, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Edinburgh" in 1815
  • Isobel Gray, aged 43, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Edinburgh" in 1815
  • Isobel Gray, aged 18, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Edinburgh" in 1815
  • Margaret Gray, aged 14, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Edinburgh" in 1815
  • Ann Gray, aged 13, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Edinburgh" in 1815
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Gray migration to Australia +

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

Gray Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Samuel Gray, British convict who was convicted in Surrey, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Calcutta" in February 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Mr. William Gray, English convict who was convicted in Surrey, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Canada" on 23rd April 1819, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [12]
  • Mr. James Gray, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "Dromedary" on 11th September 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [13]
  • Mr. Charles Gray, English convict who was convicted in Reading, Berkshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Claudine" on 20th May 1821, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [14]
  • Robert Gray, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [15]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Gray 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:

Gray Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • George Gray, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Benjamin Gray, aged 23, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Clifton" in 1842
  • Emma Gray, aged 21, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Clifton" in 1842
  • Joseph Gray, aged 1, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Clifton" in 1842
  • Christina Gray, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Gray migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [16]
Gray Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Edward Gray, (b. 1603), aged 32, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Paul of London" arriving in St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 [17]
  • Robert Gray, who settled in Barbados in 1680 with his wife and servants

Contemporary Notables of the name Gray (post 1700) +

  • Freddie Carlos Gray Jr. (1989-2015), American man arrested by the Baltimore Police Department for possessing what the police alleged was an illegal switchblade; he fell into a coma and was taken to a trauma center and later died
  • Kenneth Don "Ken" Gray (1936-2017), American NFL offensive guard who played 13 seasons from 1958 through 1970
  • Paul Edward Gray (1932-2017), American academic, 14th President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1980-1990)
  • Duncan Montgomery Gray Jr., (1926-2016), American cleric, the 7th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi
  • Mark Eugene Gray (1952-2016), American country music artist
  • William "Bill" Mason Gray (1929-2016), American Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University (CSU)
  • Coleen Gray (1922-2015), born Doris Bernice Jensen, an American actress, best known for her roles in the films Nightmare Alley (1947), Red River (1948), and The Killing (1956)
  • Major-General Carl Raymond Jr. Gray (1889-1955), American Administrator of Veterans Affairs (1947-1953) [18]
  • Harry Barkus Gray (b. 1935), American chemist awarded the Priestley Medal in 1991, The Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry and the Wolf Prize in Chemistry in 2004
  • Gordon Gray (1909-1982), American recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • ... (Another 37 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Arrow Air Flight 1285
  • Mr. Christopher Gray (b. 1966), American Specialist 4th Class from Alvarado, Texas, USA who died in the crash [19]
Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. Whit William Gray, British Assistant Steward from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [20]
  • Mr. Arthur Gray, British Assistant Saloon Steward from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [20]
  • Miss Mary Gray (1909-1914), American Second Class Passenger from Terre Haute, Wisconsin, United States who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [21]
  • Mr. Edwin Gray (1889-1914), Canadian Second Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [21]
  • Mrs. Madeline Gray (1880-1914), née Shirt American Second Class Passenger from Terre Haute, Wisconsin, United States who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [21]
Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. Thomas G.  Gray, Scottish Chief Engineer aboard the SS Curaca from Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland, United Kingdom who died in the explosion [22]
Hillcrest Coal Mine
  • Mr. James F Gray (1874-1914), Canadian Miner from Nova Scotia, Canada who worked in the Hillcrest Coal Mine, Alberta, Canada and died in the mine collapse [23]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. John C Gray (b. 1922), English Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Richmond, Surrey, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [24]
  • Mr. Alfred E E Gray (b. 1902), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Southwark, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [24]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Colin Alexander Gray, British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [25]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Dennis Gray, "Dolly" British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [26]
  • Mr. Henry Harold Gray, British Chief Engine Artificer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [26]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Harry Walker Gray (1917-1939), British Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [27]
  • Edward Gray (1910-1939), British Able Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [27]
  • Alexander Simpson Gray (d. 1939), British Boy 1st Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [27]
Ibrox disaster
  • James Graham Gray (1934-1971), Scottish football supporter, from Lanarkshire who was at the Ibrox disaster on 2nd January 1971 when a human crush among the crowd killed 66 and injured 200 people he died of his injuries [28]
RMS Lusitania
  • Master Stuart James Gray, American 2nd Class passenger from Los Angeles, California, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [29]
  • Mrs. Terence Florence Gray, American 2nd Class passenger from Los Angeles, California, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [29]
  • Mr. James Paul Gray, American 2nd Class passenger from Oakland, California, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking by escaping on an overturned collapsible [29]
  • Mr. Robert Duncan Gray, English 2nd Class passenger residing in Brooklyn, New York, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [30]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. James V. Gray, American Seaman First Class working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he survived the sinking [31]
  • Mr. Albert James Gray, American Seaman First Class from Washington, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [31]
  • Mr. Lawrence Moore Gray, American Fireman First Class from Missouri, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [31]
  • Mr. William James Gray Jr., American Seaman First Class from California, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [31]


Suggested Readings for the name Gray +

  • Direct Ancestors of the Parker and Gray Families by Elizabeth Gray Parker.
  • A Family History, Gray-Avery and Related Families by Lewis and Ruby Gray.

  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  3. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  4. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  5. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  7. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 5th 2021, retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/calcutta
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/canada
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dromedary
  14. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th February 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/claudine
  15. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1823
  16. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  17. ^ Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 4th 2021, retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  18. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 11) Carl Gray. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Gray/Carl_Raymond_Jr./USA.html
  19. ^ American War Memorials - Flight 1285. (Retrieved 2016, August 24) . Retrieved from http://www.uswarmemorials.org/html/monument_details.php?SiteID=317&MemID=550
  20. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  21. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  22. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  23. ^ List Of Miners - Hillcrest Mine Disaster Data. (Retrieved 2014, June 24) . Retrieved from http://www.hillcrestminedisaster.com/data/index.php?title=List_Of_Miners
  24. ^ 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
  25. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  26. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  27. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  28. ^ Bradford City Football Club In memory (retrieved 22nd March 2021). Retrieved from https://www.bradfordcityafc.com/club/in-memoriam/
  29. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  30. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  31. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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