Show ContentsJaye History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Jaye family name begins after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They 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 Jaye family

The surname Jaye 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 Jaye family

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

Jaye Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Jay, Jaye, Jayes and others.

Early Notables of the Jaye family

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...
  • George Joye (d. 1553), was a Protestant controversialist, who was occasionally known as Clarke, Geach, Gee, and Jaye, a native of Bedfordshire. [11]

Migration of the Jaye family

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Jaye or a variant listed above were: Thomas Jay settled in Virginia in 1635; William Jay settled in Barbados in 1663; Thomas Jay settled in Barbados in 1654.

Contemporary Notables of the name Jaye (post 1700) +

  • David Jaye (b. 1958), American Republican politician, Member of Michigan State House of Representatives, 1989-93; Member of Michigan State Senate 12th District; Elected 1998 [12]
  • Jaye Davidson (b. 1967), Oscar-nominated British former actor and model
  • Jaye Fritz (b. 1940), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Minnesota, 2004 [13]
  • Jaye Bergamini, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Wisconsin State Assembly 99th District, 1974 [14]

  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. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  12. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 8) . Retrieved from
  13. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, February 8) . Retrieved from
  14. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from on Facebook