Show ContentsRabey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Rabey is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Rabey family lived in Durham, in the parish of Raby, from whence their name is derived.

Early Origins of the Rabey family

The surname Rabey was first found in Durham at Raby, a village that dates back to the Domesday Book where it was listed as Rabie. The place name literally means "farmstead or village at a boundary." [1] At that time, it was in Cheshire, part of the Willaston Hundred and was rather small, having land enough for one plough. [2] Today, Raby Castle stands on a 200 acre deer park near Staindrop, Durham and was originally built by John Neville, 3rd Baron Neville de Raby in the late 1300s. Since then it has been resold a few times and is today open to the public boasting one to the finest collection of artwork by old masters.

Early History of the Rabey family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rabey research. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rabey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Rabey Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Raby, Rabey, Rabay and others.

Early Notables of the Rabey family (pre 1700)

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

United States Rabey migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Rabey or a variant listed above:

Rabey Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Kathren Rabey, aged 68, who arrived in New England in 1637 [3]
Rabey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Rabey, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Rabey (post 1700) +

  • Arthur Ivan Rabey (1932-2008), Cornish historian, author journalist, broadcaster and local politician
  • Mr. Anthony Kevin Rabey M.V.O., R.V.M., British Butler to The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall was appointed Member of the Royal Victorian Order on 17th June 2017

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. 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) on Facebook