Greys History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The story of the name Greys begins with a family in the Boernician tribe of the ancient Scottish-English border region. Greys is a name for a person who had gray hair. In Scotland, the surname Greys 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. Greys is therefore a nickname and a habitation name, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames.
Early Origins of the Greys family
The surname Greys 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." 
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." 
Early History of the Greys family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Greys 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 Greys History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Greys 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. Greys has been written Gray, Grey, Groy, Croy, Graye and others.
Early Notables of the Greys 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 Greys Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Greys family to Ireland
Some of the Greys 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.
Migration of the Greys family
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 Greys arrived in North America very early: Francis Gray who settled in Virginia in 1635 with his wife Alice; Robert Gray settled in Barbados in 1680 with his wife and servants; David, Edward, Henry, James, John, Joseph, Martha, Patrick, Richard, Samual, Thomas and William Gray, all settled in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.