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McLay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms



McLay is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The McLay family lived in Lincolnshire, where they held a family seat at Claye.

Early Origins of the McLay family


The surname McLay was first found in Lincolnshire where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the McLay family


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McLay research.
Another 208 words (15 lines of text) covering the year 1086 is included under the topic Early McLay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McLay 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 Clay, Claye, Cley, Cleye, McClay and others.

Early Notables of the McLay family (pre 1700)


More information is included under the topic Early McLay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the McLay family to Ireland


Some of the McLay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 129 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the McLay family to the New World and Oceana


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, travelling 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 McLay or a variant listed above:

McLay Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Charlotta McLay, aged 21, who landed in America, in 1896

McLay Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Andrew McLay, aged 22, who emigrated to America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1907
  • Fanny McLay, aged 24, who settled in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1908
  • Agnes L. McLay, aged 24, who landed in America from Kilmarnock, Scotland, in 1920
  • Henry McLay, aged 4, who emigrated to the United States from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1921
  • Arabella McLay, aged 32, who landed in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1923
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

McLay Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • R McLay, who arrived in Victoria, British Columbia in 1862

McLay Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Margaret McLay, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Melbourne"

McLay Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • J. McLay, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "British Empire" in 1880

Contemporary Notables of the name McLay (post 1700)


  • Wallace D. McLay, American politician, Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives from Wayne County 1st District, 1948
  • James B. McLay, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Arizona, 1948; Candidate for Presidential Elector for Arizona, 1968
  • Annabelle McLay, American politician, Candidate for Michigan State Board of Agriculture, 1949
  • Daniel McLay (b. 1992), British racing cyclist
  • James Kenneth "Jim" McLay CNZM, QSO (b. 1945), New Zealand politician, former Deputy Prime Minister, leader of the National Party and Leader of the Opposition, eponym of the McLay Glacier, Churchill Mountains, Antarctica

The McLay 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: Per orbem
Motto Translation: Through the world.


McLay Family Crest Products



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