Rae History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Rae was first used by a Strathclyde-Briton family from the Scottish/English Borderlands. It was a name for a person known as a timid or shy person. Further research revealed that the name is derived from the Old English word ray, that referred to a roe or female deer. [1]

Early Origins of the Rae family

The surname Rae was first found in Cumberland at Gill, in the parish of Bromfield which belonged to the family from the time of William the Lion, king of Scotland (died 1214.) "Tradition says, that the original Ray was a faithful adherent of the Scottish monarch, by whom he was greatly esteemed, for his extraordinary swiftness of foot in pursuing the deer and who gave him the estate. The tenure was by a pepper-com rent, with the stipulation, that the name of William should be perpetuated in the family. This was strictly observed from generation to generation, until the latter half of the last [of the 18th] century, when the Mr. William Reay in possession gave to the ' hope of the house ' the name of John. " [1]

Thomas filius Ray witnessed confirmation by Alexander, son of Walter, of his father's gift to the church of Paisley in 1239. [2]

While there is no doubt of the family's origin in the north of England, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Reginald le Raye, in Oxfordshire; Nicholas le Ray in Suffolk; and Richard le Ray in Cambridgeshire. [3]

Early History of the Rae family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rae research. Another 245 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1487, 1465, 1530, 1558, 1350, 1612, 1376, 1627, 1705, 1671, 1748, 1627, 1705, 1670 and are included under the topic Early Rae History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Rae Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that rules have developed and the process of spelling according to sound has been abandoned. Scottish names from before that time tend to appear under many different spelling variations. Rae has been spelled Rae, Rea, Ree, Ray and others.

Early Notables of the Rae family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was William Rae (d. 1376) a 14th century Bishop of Glasgow. Centuries later, John Ray (1627-1705) was an English naturalist, who was one of the early botanical and zoological systematists, eponym of the fish named ray. James Rae (1671-1748), was a Scottish mechanic and historian, son of a clockmaker, born at Dumfries. He...
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rae Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Rae family to Ireland

Some of the Rae family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 70 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Rae migration to the United States +

Unwelcome in their beloved homeland, many Scots sailed for the colonies of North America. There, they found land and freedom, and even the opportunity to make a new nation in the American War of Independence. These Scottish settlers played essential roles in the founding of the United States, and the shaping of contemporary North America. Among them:

Rae Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Rae who settled in Nevis in 1663
  • Robert Rae, who arrived in New Jersey in 1685 [4]
Rae Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Rae, who arrived in Virginia in 1716 [4]
Rae Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Frederick Rae, who arrived in America in 1810 [4]
  • Mary Rae, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812 [4]
  • Richard Rae, aged 27, who landed in Virginia in 1812 [4]
  • Marion Rae, who landed in New York in 1818 [4]
  • George Rae, who landed in New York in 1818 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Rae migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Rae Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Rae, who landed in Canada in 1821

Australia Rae migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Rae Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Rae, Scottish convict from Aberdeen, who was transported aboard the "America" on April 4, 1829, settling in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Mr. James Rae, Scottish convict who was convicted in Dumfries, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Blenheim" on 11th March 1837, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • John Rae, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Glenswilly" in 1839 [7]
  • Miss Helen Rae who was convicted in Aberdeen, Scotland for 7 years , transported aboard the "Aurora" on 22nd April 1851, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [8]
  • George Rae, aged 32, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Medina" [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Rae migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

  • John Rae, aged 36, a farm servant, who arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" between 1841 and 1850
Rae Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Elizabeth Rae, aged 21, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • Thomas Rae, aged 35, a farm labourer, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842
  • William Rae, aged 12, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842
  • Elizabeth Rae, aged 10, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842
  • Margaret Rae, aged 7, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Rae (post 1700) +

  • Charlotte Rae (b. 1926), born Charlotte Rae Lubotsky, an American two-time Primetime Emmy Award nominated actor, known for her roles in The Facts of Life (1979), You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008) and Hair (1979) and for her portrayal of Edna Garrett in the sitcoms Diff'rent Strokes
  • Heather Rae (b. 1966), American film producer, director, and actress
  • Tom Rae, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Wyoming, 1956 [10]
  • John W. Rae, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State House of Representatives from Washtenaw County 1st District, 1948 [10]
  • Jason Rae, American Democrat politician, Member of Democratic National Committee from Wisconsin, 2008; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Wisconsin, 2008 [10]
  • J. Thomas Rae, American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Pernambuco, 1943 [10]
  • Archibald Rae, American Republican politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Bronx County 6th District, 1925 [10]
  • Sir William Rae (1786-1873), Scottish naval surgeon, son of Matthew Rae of Park-end, Dumfries
  • Sir William Rae (1769-1842), Scottish Lord Advocate, younger son of Sir David Rae, Lord Eskgrove
  • James Rae (1716-1791), Scottish surgeon, only son of John Rae (1677–1754), a barber-surgeon and descendant of an old family of landed proprietors in Stirlingshire
  • ... (Another 18 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Hector R Rae (b. 1913), English Plumber 3rd Class serving for the Royal Navy from Calbourne, Isle of Wight, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [11]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. William Rae, British Stoker 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [12]


The Rae 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: In omnia promptus
Motto Translation: Ready for everything.


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 26) America voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1829 with 176 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/america/1829
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/blenheim
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) GLENSWILLY 1839 (also called DAWSONS). Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Glenswilly.htm
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  9. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MEDINA 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/medina1852.shtml
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 26) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  11. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  12. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html


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