Show ContentsGrayson History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Scotland, the first people to use the name Grayson were part of a tribe known as the Strathclyde Britons. The name is derived from Grier, a pet form of the given name Gregory, which means watchful. [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Grayson family

The surname Grayson was first found in Dumfriesshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Dhùn Phris), a Southern area, bordering on England that today forms part of the Dumfries and Galloway Council Area, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.

"The Griersons of Lag, Dumfriesshire, claim descent from Gilbert, second son of Malcolm, dominus de MacGregor, who is said to have died in 1374, but, says Col. Fergusson, 'there is no evidence or foundation for the story commonly current that this family was an offshoot of the Highland family of MacGregor.' " [3]

Early History of the Grayson family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Grayson research. Another 321 words (23 lines of text) covering the years 1250, 1411, 1411, 1429, 1451, 1232, 1502, 1526, 1557, 1671, 1704, 1547, 1590, 1564, 1657, 1733, 1408, 1608, 1623, 1654, 1655, 1677, 1760, 1709 and 1711 are included under the topic Early Grayson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Grayson Spelling Variations

Prior to the first dictionaries, scribes spelled words according to sound. This, and the fact that Scottish names were repeatedly translated from Gaelic to English and back, contributed to the enormous number of spelling variations in Scottish names. Grayson has been spelled Grierson, Greson, Greyson, Grayson, Greirson and others.

Early Notables of the Grayson family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was John Grierson or Grisson (died 1564?), a Scottish Dominican who is believed to have been from the family of Grierson of Lag in Dumfriesshire. [4] Sir Robert Grierson of Lag (1657-1733), was 1st Baronet of Baronets of Lag & Rockhall, Dumfriesshire. He was "persecutor of the covenanters, was descended from an old Dumfriesshire family which claimed as an ancestor the highland chief Malcolm, lord of Macgregor, the friend and ally of Robert Bruce. The lands of Lag are said to have been bestowed on Gilbert Grierson by Henry, earl of...
Another 96 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Grayson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Grayson Ranking

In the United States, the name Grayson is the 1,618th most popular surname with an estimated 19,896 people with that name. [5]

Ireland Migration of the Grayson family to Ireland

Some of the Grayson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Grayson migration to the United States +

In such difficult times, the difficulties of raising the money to cross the Atlantic to North America did not seem so large compared to the problems of keeping a family together in Scotland. It was a journey well worth the cost, since it was rewarded with land and freedom the Scots could not find at home. The American War of Independence solidified that freedom, and many of those settlers went on to play important parts in the forging of a great nation. Among them:

Grayson Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Grayson, aged 20, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [6]
Grayson Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Grayson, a bonded passenger who arrived in America in 1730
  • Thomas Grayson, who landed in Virginia in 1754 [6]
  • Spence Grayson, who arrived in Virginia in 1771 [6]
Grayson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Grayson who settled in Wilmington North Carolina in 1804
  • Anthony Grayson, who was naturalized in New York in 1806
  • G. Grayson, who was recorded arriving at the port of San Francisco in 1851
  • G Grayson, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [6]

Australia Grayson migration to Australia +

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

Grayson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Curry Grayson, English convict from York, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on September 21, 1826, settling in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Miss Mary Ann Grayson who was convicted in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England for 7 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Edward" on 23rd April 1834, arriving in Tasmania, (Van Diemen's Land), she died in 1876 [8]
  • Charles Grayson, aged 25, a carpenter, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Royal Charlie" [9]
  • Lawrence Grayson, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "Lady Ann"

Contemporary Notables of the name Grayson (post 1700) +

  • Keith Grayson (1966-2022), professionally known as DJ Kay Slay, an American DJ and record executive from New York City, "Hip Hop's One-Man Ministry of Insults"
  • C. Jackson "Jack" Grayson Jr. (1923-2017), American chairman of APQC, U.S. chairman of the Price Commission in the United States from 1971 to 1973
  • George Wallace Grayson Jr. (1938-2015), American politician, Member of the Virginia House of Delegates (1973-1981)
  • Brigadier-General Thomas Jackson Grayson (1896-1962), American Director of Selective Service Mississippi (1940-1942) [10]
  • Frances Wilson Grayson (1890-1927), American aviatrix who died flying to Newfoundland just prior to her planned trip to cross the Atlantic Ocean
  • Ralph Lawrence Grayson (1921-1991), American scientist, engineer, pilot, attorney, and soldier who went on to be a pioneer in network computing and play a lead role in the development of the Space Shuttle
  • Andrew Jackson Grayson (1819-1869), American ornithologist and artist
  • David Grayson (1870-1946), American author who wrote under the pseudonym Ray Stannard Baker
  • Kathryn Grayson (1922-2010), American actress and operatic soprano singer
  • Howard A. Grayson Jr., American Libertarian politician, Candidate for U.S. Senator from Connecticut, 1988, 1992 [11]
  • ... (Another 17 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Grayson Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Hoc securior
Motto Translation: Safer by this.

Suggested Readings for the name Grayson +

  • Bateman, Grayson, Boyett, Carter, and Cole Families and Their Kin and They Marked the Way by Cynthia E. Snider.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  3. 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)
  4. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. 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)
  7. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1826 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th January 2022). Retrieved from
  9. South Australian Register Thursday 25th May 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Royal Charlie 1854. Retrieved
  10. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 11) Thomas Grayson. Retrieved from
  11. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 11) . Retrieved from on Facebook