Grey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

The story of the name Grey begins with a family in the Boernician tribe of the ancient Scottish-English border region. Grey is a name for a person who had gray hair. In Scotland, the surname Grey 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. Grey is therefore a nickname and a habitation name, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames.

Early Origins of the Grey family

The surname Grey 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]

Important Dates for the Grey family

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

Grey Spelling Variations

A lack of rules and the tendency of scribes to spell according to the sound of the word plagued medieval spelling. Not surprisingly, an enormous number of spelling variations appeared. Grey has been written Gray, Grey, Groy, Croy, Graye and others.

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

Migration of the Grey family to Ireland

Some of the Grey 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.

Grey migration to the United States

Many Scots crossed the Atlantic for North America hoping to escape poverty, as well as persecution. Much of their heritage was lost along the way and overtime. This century, however, Clan societies and highland games have allowed many ancestral Scots to recover their birthright. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Grey arrived in North America very early:

Grey Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Daniel Grey, who settled in Virginia in 1654

Grey migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Grey Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Daniel Grey, aged 38, a carpenter, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Salus" in 1833
  • Mary Grey, aged 39, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Salus" in 1833
  • Maria Grey, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Perseus" in 1834
  • Nancy Grey, aged 50, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Perseus" in 1834
  • John Grey, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Perseus" in 1834
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Grey migration to Australia

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

Grey Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Grey, a miner, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Edward Grey, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839 [2]
  • Henry Grey, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839 [2]
  • Margaret Grey, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Abberton" in 1846 [3]
  • Elizabeth Grey, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Bussorah Merchant" in 1848 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Grey 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:

Grey Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Benjamin Grey, who landed in Wanganui, New Zealand in 1843
  • George Grey, who landed in New Zealand in 1843
  • Miss Grey, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Bosworth" arriving in Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand on 24th November 1857 [5]
  • Miss Agnes Grey, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Robert Henderson" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 3rd September 1860 [6]
  • Mr. John Grey, Scottish settler travelling from Clyde aboard the ship "Sir William Eyre" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand in April 1863 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Grey (post 1700)

  • Brad Alan Grey (1957-2017), American television and film producer, co-founder of the Brillstein-Grey Entertainment agency, CEO of Paramount Pictures (2005-2017)
  • Al Grey (1925-2000), American jazz trombonist, best known for his work with the Count Basie orchestra
  • Paris Grey (b. 1965), American singer
  • Jennifer Grey (b. 1960), Golden Globe nominated American actress, best known for playing Frances "Baby" Houseman in the 1987 hit film Dirty Dancing
  • Mike Grey, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Oklahoma, 1956 [7]
  • Mrs. John Wesley Grey, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1932 [7]
  • Jeffrey W. Grey, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Virginia 6th District, 1996 [7]
  • James Grey, American Democrat politician, Candidate in primary for Governor of Georgia, 1966 [7]
  • J. C. Grey, American politician, Member of South Dakota State House of Representatives, 1925-26, 1949-54 [7]
  • Della Grey, American politician, Burgess of Ashley, Pennsylvania, 1950-53 [7]
  • ... (Another 17 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Historic Events for the Grey family

Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. Thomas G.  Grey (1844-1917), Canadian resident from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the explosion but later died due to injuries [8]
HMS Dorsetshire
  • Denis Grey (d. 1945), British Petty Officer Telegraphist aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [9]

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Citations

  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HOOGHLY 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Hooghly.htm
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ABBERTON 1846. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1846Abberton.htm
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BUSSORAH MERCHANT 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848BussorahMerchant.htm
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 14) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  8. ^ 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
  9. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html
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