Nicolay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname is one of the oldest family names to came from that French region known as Brittany. It is derived from the Latin personal name Nicolaus, meaning "victory people."

Early Origins of the Nicolay family

The surname Nicolay was first found in the Province of Vivarais (later, Languedoc,) where a Guy, or Guglielmo of Florence, Italy founded the Countal and Baronial House of Nicolay.

Early History of the Nicolay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Nicolay research. Another 109 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1736, 1789, 1815, and 1848 are included under the topic Early Nicolay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Nicolay Spelling Variations

History has changed the spelling of most surnames. During the early development of the French language in the Middle Ages, a person gave his version of his name, phonetically, to a scribe, a priest, or a recorder. Some variables were adopted by different branches of the family name. Hence, there spelling variations of the name Nicolay, some of which include Nicolais, Nicolai, Nicolay, De Nicolay, De Nicolai and many more.

Early Notables of the Nicolay family (pre 1700)

Another 39 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Nicolay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Nicolay migration to the United States +

In 1643, 109 years after the first landings by Cartier, there were only about 300 people in Quebec, in 1663 there were only 500, 2,000 migrants arrived during the next decade. Early marriage was desperately encouraged amongst the immigrants. Youths of 18 took fourteen-year-old girls for their wives. The fur trade was developed and attracted migrants, both noble and commoner from France. 15,000 explorers left Montreal in the late 17th and 18th centuries. Migration from France to New France or Quebec as it was now more popularly called, continued from France until it fell in 1759. By 1675, there were 7000 French in Quebec. By the same year the Acadian presence in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had reached 500. In 1755, 10,000 French Acadians refused to take an oath of allegiance to England and were deported to Louisiana. Meanwhile, in Quebec, the French race flourished, founding in Lower Canada, one of the two great solitudes which became Canada. Many distinguished contributions have been made by members of this family name Nicolay. It has been prominent in the arts, religion, politics and culture in France and New France. Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Nicolay were

Nicolay Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Jacques Nicolay, who settled in Jamestown, VA in 1700
  • Jacques Nicolay, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1700 [1]
  • Soubragon Nicolay, who landed in Jamestown, Va in 1700 [1]
  • Johann Jakob Nicolay, who settled in North America in 1781
Nicolay Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John B Nicolay, who landed in Arkansas in 1845 [1]
  • Nicolas Nicolay, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1853 [1]
  • Heinrich Nicolay, who landed in Cincinnati, Oh in 1869-1870 [1]

Canada Nicolay migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Nicolay Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Johan Sebastien Nicolay, who settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1750

Contemporary Notables of the name Nicolay (post 1700) +

  • John George Nicolay (1832-1901), American biographer and secretary of Abraham Lincoln
  • Franz Nicolay, American musician and composer
  • John George Nicolay (1832-1901), American politician, U.S. Consul in Paris, 1865-69 [2]
  • Jean Nicolay (b. 1937), Belgian football goalkeeper
  • Sir William Nicolay (1771-1842), English army officer and Colonial administrator, of the House of Nicolay, who commanded at the Battle of Waterloo and was made a Major-General on August 12th 1819
  • Christian Nicolay (b. 1976), German javelin thrower
  • Thomas Nicolay Fearnley (1841-1927), Norwegian shipping magnate, industrialist and philanthropist, son of Thomas Fearnley (1802-1842)
  • Nicolay Andrew Grevstad (1851-1940), American Republican politician, U.S. Minister to Paraguay, 1911-14; Uruguay, 1911-14 [3]

The Nicolay 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: En bon espoir
Motto Translation: In good hope.

  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 14) . Retrieved from on Facebook
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