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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Where did the German Kray family come from? What is the German Kray family crest and coat of arms? When did the Kray family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Kray family history?

The German state of Bavaria is the ancestral home of the Kray family. Hereditary surnames began to be used in Germany during the 12th century. Kray is an occupational name for a shopkeeper or retail merchandiser. The name Kray is derived from the German word "kram," which means "tent" or "trading post."


Many cultural groups lived in the German states in medieval times. Each had its own dialect and traditions, and unique variations of popular names. Low German, which is similar to contemporary Dutch, was spoken in Westphalia. German names are characterized by additions such as regional suffixes and phrases that tell something about the origin or background of its original bearer. Further contributing to the variation in German names was the fact that there were no spelling rules in medieval times: scribes recorded names according to their sound. The recorded spelling variations of Kray include Kramer, Kraemer, Kremer, Krammer, Kraemmer, Kraymer, Kraymmer, Cramer, Cremer, Crammer and many more.

First found in Bavaria, where the name came from humble beginnings but gained a significant reputation for its contribution to the emerging medieval society. They later became more prominent as many branches of the same house acquired distant estates, some in foreign countries, always elevating their social status by their great contributions to society.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kray research. Another 353 words (25 lines of text) covering the years 1720, 1801, 1817, 1705, 1430, 1505, 1764, 1568, 1637 and 1617 are included under the topic Early Kray History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 113 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Thousands of German settlers came to North America between the mid-17th and mid-20th centuries. The hardships of the long voyage were balanced by the opportunity to escape poverty and religious persecution. The descendents of these settlers still populate the states of Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California. Many also live in Ontario and the prairie provinces of Canada. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Kray or a variant listed above:

Kray Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Teunis Kray, who landed in New Netherland(s) in 1657

Kray Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • John Kray, who arrived in Texas in 1860


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  1. Fogleman, Aaron Spencer. Journeys German Immigration, Settlement and Political Culture in Colonial America 1717-1775. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986. Print. (ISBN 978-0812215489).
  2. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  3. Rolland, and H.V. Rolland. Illustrations to the Armorial general by J. B. Rietstap 6 volumes in 3. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1976. Print.
  4. Bahlow, Hans. Mecklenburgisches Namenbüchlein Ein Führer durch Mecklenburgs Familiennamen. Rostock: Carl Hinstorffs Verlag, 1932. Print.
  5. Siebmacher, J.J. Siebmachers Wappenbuch. München, Battenberg: 1975. Print.
  6. Gottschald, Max. Deutsche Namenkunde unsere Familiennamen nach ihrer Entstehung und Bedeutung. München: J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1932. Print.
  7. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  8. Bentley, Elizabeth P. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of New York 1820-1829. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999. Print.
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Bahlow, Hans. Deutschlands geographische Namenwelt Etymologisches Lexikon der Fluss- und Ortsnamen alteuropaischer Herkunft. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1985. Print.
  11. ...

The Kray Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kray Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 9 February 2015 at 11:44.

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