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

Origins Available: English, German

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

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought many new words to England from which surnames were formed. Mays was one of these new Norman names. It was specifically tailored to its first bearer, who was a person born or baptized in the month of May. The name Mays is derived from the Old French word mai, which has cognates in the other European languages that were all derived from the Latin word Maius. This name was also a nickname for a person with a particularly sunny disposition or a person who had an anecdotal connection with the month of May. Often this connection would be the time that feudal obligations were owed. Nicknames, such as Mays, that described the time or season of the birth, baptism or conversion of the original bearer were frequently adopted in the medieval era. Additionally, numerous nicknames referred to various religious festivals, medieval name days, or the particular day of the week when feudal services were fulfilled.


A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include May, Mai, Maye and others.

First found in Sussex where they held a family seat as Lords of the manor of Faunt.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Mays research. Another 153 words(11 lines of text) covering the years 1291, 1573, 1630, 1605, 1611, 1614, 1621, 1624, 1625, 1624, 1625, 1626, 1629, 1604, 1655, 1640, 1642, 1628, 1698, 1665, 1685, 1621, 1684, 1797 and are included under the topic Early Mays History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 133 words(10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Mays Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Mays family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 173 words(12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Mays or a variant listed above:

Mays Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Jacob Mays, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1765
  • Alexander Mays, who landed in Wilmington, Del in 1798

Mays Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • James Mays, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1807
  • Margt Mays, aged 30, landed in America in 1821
  • Thomas Mays, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1831
  • Morris Mays, who arrived in Texas in 1835
  • John Mays, who arrived in Mississippi in 1851

Mays Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • George Henry Mays, aged 44, who landed in America from Bourne Lens, England, in 1904
  • Ellen Rebecca Mays, aged 29, who landed in America from Pendleton, England, in 1908
  • Edward Mays, aged 34, who emigrated to the United States, in 1915
  • Caroline E. Mays, aged 29, who landed in America from England, in 1916
  • Emily Mays, aged 60, who settled in America from Hunstanton, England, in 1916

Mays Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Fred Mays arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Timaru" in 1870


  • Willie Mays (b. 1931), American baseball payer who shares the distinction with Hank Aaron to have more than 3000 hits and 600 home runs
  • Benjamin Mays (b. 1895), African-American minister, educator, and social activist
  • Billy Mays (1958-2009), American television commercial salesman, most notable for promoting OxiClean
  • Brook Mays, American investor in the Brook Mays Music Group
  • Carl Mays (b. 1891), American Major League Baseball pitcher, best remembered for throwing a pitch that struck and killed Ray Chapman
  • David Mays, American co-founder and co-owner of The Source magazine
  • Dorothy Mays (b. 1957), American model and actress
  • J Mays, American Group Vice President of Design for the Ford Motor Company
  • Jayma Mays (b. 1979), American television and film actress
  • Jerry Mays (b. 1939), professional football player for the Kansas City Chiefs



  • Genealogy and History of Thomas B. Hamrick, John Ray, Seaborn Mays, and E. Warbington by Orville O. Ray.


  1. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  3. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  4. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  5. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  8. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  9. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  10. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  11. ...

The Mays Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Mays 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 14 July 2015 at 11:40.

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