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

Origins Available: English, Irish

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

The Pray surname comes from the word Latin "praetor," and was a term used for a reeve, the chief magistrate or bailiff of a district.

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Prater, Preater, Prather, Pretor, Prether and many more.

First found in Lincolnshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. The Saxon influence of English history diminished after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The language of the courts was French for the next three centuries and the Norman ambience prevailed. But Saxon surnames survived and the family name was first referenced in the year 1150 when Willelmus Pretor held estates in that shire.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pray research. Another 276 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1208, 1455, and 1487 are included under the topic Early Pray History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Pray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Pray Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Quentin Pray, who arrived in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1645
  • Richard Pray, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1645
  • John Pray, who landed in Braintree, Massachusetts in 1657
  • Ephraim Pray, who landed in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1680

Pray Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Hugh Pray, aged 30, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Alvin Pray, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Ignacio Pray, aged 26, arrived in New Orleans, La in 1850
  • Atwill Pray, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851

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  • Doug Pray, American documentary film director, cinematographer, and editor
  • W. Steven Pray, American pharmacist and academic, recipient of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy's Henry Cade Memorial Award (2008)
  • Irving R. Pray, American football coach at Louisiana State University
  • Isaac Clark Pray (1813-1869), American author and playwright
  • György Pray (1723-1801), Hungarian Jesuit abbot and canon
  • Jack Pray (1872-1948), Scottish footballer


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  1. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  2. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  3. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  5. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  6. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  7. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  8. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  9. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  10. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  11. ...

The Pray Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Pray 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 15 September 2011 at 14:15.

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