Show ContentsHey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Today's generation of the Hey family inherits a name that was first used by the Scottish tribe known as the Picts. The first family to use the name Hey lived in ancient chronicles where the tradition relating this distinguished Pictish family of Hay begins during an attack by the Danes in the reign of Kenneth III of Scotland in 980. The defeated Scottish army retired through a narrow pass near Lochnarty in Perthshire which was later defended by a local farmer and his two sons. Upbraiding the retiring Scottish army, the farmer rallied the retreating Scottish and eventually defeated the Danes. They took the yokes from the oxen with which they were ploughing, and so belaboured the invaders as to drive them from the field, amidst shouts of Hay! Hay! The King rewarded the family with many grants of land including the Carse of Gowrie on the River Tay, traditionally marked by the limit of a falcon's flight, six miles in length. There is a monument still extant called the Falcon's Stone marking the falcon's place of rest. [1] The king also assigned three shields or escutcheons for the arms of the family, to intimate that the father and his two sons had been the three fortunate shields of Scotland.

Early Origins of the Hey family

The surname Hey was first found in Perthshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland, but looking further back we find Hay family of Normandy was of considerable rank and importance in the year 823 AD.

Significantly, the family held a Coat of Arms from ancient times that consisted of three red shields on a silver background. They also held many baronies, including the Castle and Barony of La Hai-du-puits in Coutances from whence the Sire-de-la-haie came.

He accompanied Duke William of Normandy in his conquest of England and was granted vast estates in Sussex, Essex and Suffolk, as recorded in the Domesday Book. He died in 1098, his daughter marrying her cousin Robert de la Haie, Count of Mortain. William de Haya, who first settled in Scotland was probably Robert's son, and he witnessed charters by King Malcolm IV in 1160 AD. [2]

Early History of the Hey family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hey research. Another 250 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1255, 1258, 1333, 1309, 1403, 1342, 1406, 1450, 1508, 1572, 1634, 1599, 1660, 1625, 1697, 1645, 1713, 1668, 1706, 1704 and are included under the topic Early Hey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hey Spelling Variations

Repeated and inaccurate translation of Scottish names from Gaelic to English and back resulted in a wide variety of spelling variations with single names. Hey has appeared Hay, Haye, Haya, Mac Garaidh (Gaelic) and others.

Early Notables of the Hey family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Sir Gilbert de la Haye (d. 1333), Lord High Constable of Scotland from 1309; Gilbert Hay (c.1403), Scottish poet and translator, author of "The Buik of King Alexander the Conquerour" and other works; Sir Thomas de la Hay (c. 1342-1406), Lord High Constable of Scotland, third member of the Hay family to hold this post, his predecessor was David Hay; John Hay, 1st...
Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hey Ranking

In the United States, the name Hey is the 16,502nd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]

Ireland Migration of the Hey family to Ireland

Some of the Hey 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 Hey migration to the United States +

Many Scottish families suffered enormous hardships and were compelled to leave their country of birth. They traveled to Ireland and Australia, but mostly to the colonies of North America, where many found the freedom and opportunity they sought. It was not without a fight, though, as many were forced to stand up and defend their freedom in the American War of Independence. The ancestors of these Scots abroad have rediscovered their heritage in the last century through the Clan societies and other organizations that have sprung up across North America. Immigration and passenger ship lists show some important early immigrants bearing the name Hey:

Hey Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Hey, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682 [4]
Hey Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hans Ulrich Hey, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732 [4]
  • Jahan Carle Hey, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1739 [4]
  • Peter Hey, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1742 [4]
Hey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Martin Hey, who landed in North America in 1832-1849 [4]
  • Karl Hey, who arrived in America in 1853 [4]
  • Joseph Hey, aged 30, who landed in New York in 1854 [4]
  • Jakob Hey, who arrived in St Louis, Missouri in 1856 [4]
  • Johann Jakob Hey, who landed in Brazil in 1856 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Hey migration to Australia +

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

Hey Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Hey who was convicted in Liverpool, Merseyside, England for 15 years, transported aboard the "Clara" on 19th March 1857, arriving in Western Australia, Australia [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Hey (post 1700) +

  • Jerry Hey, American trumpeter, flugelhornist, horn arranger, string arranger and orchestrator
  • Robert Hey, American politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for New York, 1920 [6]
  • Judson Hey, American politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Dutchess County 2nd District, 1922 [6]
  • John Hey, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for West Virginia State House of Delegates from Kanawha County, 1972 [6]
  • Emory J. Hey, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Dutchess County 2nd District, 1938 [6]
  • Richard Hey (1745-1835), English essayist and mathematician, born at Pudsey, near Leeds, on 22 Aug. 1745, being the younger brother of the Rev. John Hey, D.D. [q. v.], and of William Hey, F.R.S. [q. v.]
  • William Hey (1736-1819), English surgeon, third son of Richard Hey of Pudsey, near Leeds, drysalter, and of his wife Mary Simpson, daughter of a surgeon in Leeds
  • John Hey (1734-1815), English divine, elder brother of William Hey [q. v.] and Richard Hey [q. v.], born in July 1734, he entered Catharine Hall, Cambridge, in 1751
  • Antoine Hey (b. 1970), retired German footballer
  • Virginia Hey (b. 1962), Australian actress, known for her role as Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan on the science fiction TV series Farscape

The Hey 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: Serva jugum
Motto Translation: Keep the yoke.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. 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)
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. 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)
  5. Convict Records of Australia. Retrieved 11th February 2021 from
  6. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 12) . Retrieved from on Facebook