Graybill History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Scotland, a tribe called the Boernicians were the first to use the name Graybill. It is a nickname for a person who had gray hair. In Scotland, the surname Graybill 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. Graybill is therefore a nickname and a habitation name, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames.

Early Origins of the Graybill family

The surname Graybill 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 Graybill family

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

Graybill Spelling Variations

In the Middles Ages scribes spelled names by their sound. Often a name was written under a different spelling variation each time it was recorded. Graybill has appeared as Gray, Grey, Groy, Croy, Graye and others.

Early Notables of the Graybill 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 Graybill Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Graybill family to Ireland

Some of the Graybill 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 Graybill migration to the United States +

The ancestors of Boernician-Scottish settlers dot North America even today. They settled all along the east coast when they came over, but some went north as United Empire Loyalists at the time of the War of Independence. However, these strong lines endured as Scottish families in the United States and Canada have rediscovered much of the heritage that was taken from them centuries ago. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Graybill, or a variant listed above:

Graybill Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Graybill, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1765 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Graybill (post 1700) +

  • Evelyn Graybill, American former owner of Peckforton Castle, Peckforton, Cheshire, England (1988-2006)
  • Joseph Graybill (1887-1913), born Harold Graybill, an American silent film actor who appeared in 89 features, known for Saved from Himself (1911), The Italian Barber (1911) and A Decree of Destiny (1911)
  • W. C. Graybill (b. 1851), American Democrat politician, Member of South Dakota State House of Representatives 17th District, 1903-04 [3]
  • Sam S. Graybill, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Kansas, 1908, 1924 [3]
  • Raphael J. Graybill, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Montana, 2008 [3]
  • Norman T. Graybill, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 1996 [3]
  • Leo C. Graybill, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Montana, 1952, 1956; Candidate for Presidential Elector for Montana, 1972 [3]
  • John D. Graybill, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for Presidential Elector for Pennsylvania, 1904 [3]
  • James M. Graybill, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Kansas, 1888 [3]
  • J. W. Graybill, American Republican politician, Lieutenant Governor of Kansas, 1929-33 [3]
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 11) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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