Jay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Jay came to England with the ancestors of the Jay family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Jay family lived in Herefordshire. Their name, however, derives from the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, De Gai, Normandy. [1]

Others sources claim the name is a nickname for ' the jay,' a chatterer, a smartly dressed person. [2] [3] [4]

Early Origins of the Jay family

The surname Jay was first found in Herefordshire at Heath, with Jay, a township, in the parish of Leintwardine, union of Ludlow, hundred of Wigmore. [5] This small township had only 55 inhabitants in the late 1800s and comprises the hamlets of Heath and Jay. [6] [7]

One of the first records of the family was Gilber Jai (Gai) who was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Lincolnshire in 1202. A few years later, Tandy de Jay was listed in the Assize Rolls for Shropshire in 1221 and Walter le Jay was found in the Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1225. [8]

In Somerset, William le Jay was listed there 1 Edward III (during the first year of King Edward III's reign.) [9]

"Brian de Jay was the last Master of the English Knights Templars. He was the only Englishman of note slain at the battle of Falkirk in 1298 and his fellow Master of the Order in Scotland, fighting along with Jay, was also killed." [10]

Early History of the Jay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Jay research. Another 105 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1511, 1630, 1722, 1495, 1553, 1530, 1534, 1529, 1697, 1790, 1697, 1734, 1699 and 1553 are included under the topic Early Jay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Jay Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Jay, Jaye, Jayes and others.

Early Notables of the Jay family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was George Joye (also Joy and Jaye) (c. 1495 - 1553), a 16th-century Bible translator who produced the first printed translation of several books of the Old Testament into English (1530-1534), as well as the first English Primer (1529). Francis Joy (1697?-1790), was a printer, papermaker, and journalist, born at Belfast about 1697. "His family claims descent from Captain Thomas Joy, a follower of Arthur Chichester, Lord Chichester of Belfast. Francis Joy is said to have been originally a tailor; but the authority for this statement adds, with manifest exaggeration, that on setting up as...
Another 132 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Jay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Jay Ranking

In the United States, the name Jay is the 3,741st most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [11] However, in France, the name Jay is ranked the 1,834th most popular surname with an estimated 3,351 people with that name. [12]


United States Jay migration to the United States +

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Jay or a variant listed above:

Jay Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Jay, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Tho Jay, aged 25, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [13]
  • Mr. Thomas Jay, (b. 1610), aged 25, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Constance" arriving in Virginia in 1635 [14]
  • Thomas Jay, who landed in Maryland in 1674 [13]
  • Augustus Jay, who arrived in New York in 1685 [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Jay Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Jay, aged 45, who landed in New York in 1812 [13]
  • Joseph Jay, who arrived in New York in 1832 [13]
  • James Jay, who arrived in New York in 1832 [13]
  • George H Jay, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [13]
  • Garrett Jay, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1871 [13]
Jay Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mr. James Jay, (b. 1872), aged 29, Cornish miner from St. Ives, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Lucania" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 3rd March 1901 en route to New York, USA [15]
  • Mr. Alfred Jay, (b. 1878), aged 26, Cornish carpenter from Liskeard, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Majestic" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 24th March 1904 en route to New York, USA [15]
  • Mr. Arthur Jory Jay, (b. 1875), aged 29, Cornish miner travelling aboard the ship "Lucania" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 12th November 1904 en route to Superior, Arizona, USA [15]

Canada Jay migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Jay Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Robert Jay, aged 26, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Ward" from Limerick, Ireland
  • Peggy Jay, aged 21, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Ward" from Limerick, Ireland
  • Mr. Joseph Jay, aged 2 months who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec but died on Grosse Isle on 22nd May 1847 [16]
  • Charles Jay, who landed in Esquimalt, British Columbia in 1862

Australia Jay migration to Australia +

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

Jay Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Isaac Jay, English convict who was convicted in Essex, England for 15 years, transported aboard the "Earl Grey" on 27th July 1838, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [17]
  • Thomas Jay, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Aden" in 1849 [18]
  • Miss Frances Jay, (b.1817), aged 32, Cornish cook from St. Pinnock, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "British Empire" arriving in Port Phillip, New South Wales, Australia on 6th June 1849 [19]
  • Mrs. Frances Jay, (b. 1817), aged 32, Cornish cook departing from London on 7th February 1849 aboard the ship "British Empire" arriving in Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia on 6th June 1849 [20]
  • Esther Jay, aged 30, a cook, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Taymouth Castle" [21]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Jay migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [22]
Jay Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Jay, who settled in Barbados in 1654
  • William Jay, who settled in Barbados in 1663

Contemporary Notables of the name Jay (post 1700) +

  • Brigadier-General Henry Davis Jay (1891-1979), American Commanding General Artillery II Corps (1944-1945) [23]
  • William Jay (1789-1858), American jurist and reformer, also helped establish (1833) the New York City Anti-Slavery Society
  • Jacob Jay, American politician, Candidate for New York State Senate 25th District, 1934; Candidate for U.S. Representative from New York 24th District, 1936 [24]
  • Hamilton Jay, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Jacksonville, Florida, 1877-82 [24]
  • George Jay, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Arizona, 1924, 1940 [24]
  • Frederick Jay, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from New York County, 1777-83 [24]
  • Ferris Jay, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Indiana, 1932 [24]
  • Christopher Jay, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Alaska, 2008 [24]
  • Charles Jay (b. 1960), American politician, Candidate for President of the United States, 2004, 2008 [24]
  • Austin Jay, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Arizona, 1948 [24]
  • ... (Another 16 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Master Clifford James Jay (1910-1914), Canadian Third Class Passenger from London, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [25]
  • Miss Emily Annie Jay (1907-1914), Canadian Third Class Passenger from London, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [25]
  • Miss Stella Dorothy Jay (1906-1914), Canadian Third Class Passenger from London, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [25]
  • Master Frederick William Jay (1904-1914), Canadian Third Class Passenger from London, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [25]
  • Miss Florence Lillian Jay (1901-1914), Canadian Third Class Passenger from London, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [25]
  • ... (Another 1 entries are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Halifax Explosion
  • Mrs. Mary  Jay (1899-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [26]
  • Mrs. Gladys  Jay (1900-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [26]
HMS Prince of Wales
HMS Royal Oak
  • Vernon George Underhill Jay (d. 1939), British Naval Cadet with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [28]


Suggested Readings for the name Jay +

  • The Jays of Bedford by Jennifer P. McLean.

  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  4. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  7. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  8. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  9. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  10. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  11. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  12. ^ http://www.journaldesfemmes.com/nom-de-famille/nom/
  13. ^ 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)
  14. ^ Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 5th 2021, retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  15. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  16. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 35)
  17. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-grey
  18. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Aden from London via Plymouth Adealide Arriving September 12th 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849AdenRegister.htm
  19. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, May 30). Ships' Passenger Lists of Arrivals in New South Wales on (1828 - 1842, 1848 - 1849) [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_nsw_1838_on.pdf
  20. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_australia_victoria.pdf
  21. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 26th June 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Taymouth Castle 1855. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/taymouthcastle1855.shtml.
  22. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  23. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, March 30) Henry Jay. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Jay/Henry_Davis/USA.html
  24. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  25. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  26. ^ 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
  27. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  28. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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