Ray History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The saga of the name Ray begins with a Strathclyde-Briton family in the ancient Scottish/English Borderlands. It is 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 Ray family

The surname Ray 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 Ray family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ray 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 Ray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ray Spelling Variations

Spelling and translation were hardly exact sciences in Medieval Scotland. Sound, rather than any set of rules, was the basis for spellings, so one name was often spelled different ways even within a single document. Spelling variations are thus an extremely common occurrence in Medieval Scottish names. Ray has been spelled Rae, Rea, Ree, Ray and others.

Early Notables of the Ray 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 Ray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ray World Ranking

In the United States, the name Ray is the 173rd most popular surname with an estimated 136,785 people with that name. [4] However, in France, the name Ray is ranked the 1,402nd most popular surname with an estimated 4,082 people with that name. [5] And in Australia, the name Ray is the 799th popular surname with an estimated 4,920 people with that name. [6] New Zealand ranks Ray as 926th with 803 people. [7] The United Kingdom ranks Ray as 765th with 8,760 people. [8]

Ireland Migration of the Ray family to Ireland

Some of the Ray 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 Ray migration to the United States +

Such hard times forced many to leave their homeland in search of opportunity across the Atlantic. Many of these families settled along the east coast of North America in communities that would become the backbones of the young nations of the United States and Canada. The ancestors of many of these families have rediscovered their roots in the 20th century through the establishment of Clan societies and other patriotic Scottish organizations. Among them:

Ray Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Simon Ray, who settled in Massachusetts in 1620
  • Samuel Ray, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1637 [9]
  • Benj Ray, who arrived in Virginia in 1638 [9]
  • Darby Ray, who landed in Virginia in 1642 [9]
  • John Ray, who settled in Virginia in 1642
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Ray Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Sarah Ray, who landed in Virginia in 1702 [9]
  • Isaac Ray, who landed in New England in 1720 [9]
  • Daniel Ray, who settled in Virginia in 1731
  • Joseph Ray, who arrived in Virginia in 1740 [9]
  • Michel Ray, who settled in Boston in 1764
Ray Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mary Ray, aged 24, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1805 [9]
  • Thomas W Ray, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [9]
  • Hugh Ray, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [9]
  • Daniel Ray, aged 50, who arrived in North Carolina in 1812 [9]
  • Duncan Ray, aged 47, who arrived in North Carolina in 1813 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Ray migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Ray Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Ann Ray, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Honor Ray, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • James Ray, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • William Ray, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mr. Daniel Ray U.E. who settled in St. Andrews, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 [10]
Ray Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Francis Ray, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1817
  • Margaret Ray, who arrived in Canada in 1823
  • William Ray, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Eleanor" in 1834
  • Eliza Ray, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Eleanor" in 1834
  • Ms. Eliza Ray, aged 25 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Prince George" but died on Grosse Isle in June 1847 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Ray migration to Australia +

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

Ray Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Robert Ray, English convict who was convicted in Hertford, Hertfordshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Duke of Portland" in January 1807, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [12]
  • Mr. John Ray, (b. 1794), aged 25, English baker who was convicted in Sussex, England for 14 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 27th October 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1874 [13]
  • Mr. Richard Ray, British Convict who was convicted in Sussex, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 27th October 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [13]
  • Mr. John Ray, (b. 1792), aged 27, English shoe maker who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "Dromedary" on 11th September 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [14]
  • Mr. Joseph Ray, (b. 1807), aged 21, English carpenter who was convicted in Stafford, Staffordshire, England for life for highway robbery, transported aboard the "Bussorah Merchant" on 24th March 1828, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1866 [15]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Ray 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:

Ray Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Edward Ray, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Anne Longton" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 9th October 1857 [16]
  • Mr. Walter Ray, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Anne Longton" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 9th October 1857 [16]
  • Mr. Neil Ray, (b. 1838), aged 25, British ploughman travelling from London aboard the ship "David G. Fleming" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 9th December 1863 [16]
  • Mr. Charles Ray, (b. 1845), aged 18, British farm labourer travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship " Lancashire Witch" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 13th October 1863 [16]
  • Mary Ray, aged 21, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ballochmyle" in 1874
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Ray migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [17]
Ray Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Abram Ray, who settled in Barbados in 1635

Contemporary Notables of the name Ray (post 1700) +

  • John "Johnny" Ray (1937-2020), American stock car racing driver, father of Kevin Ray
  • Jimmy Ray Jr. (b. 1969), birth name of Roman Artiste, an American film and television actor, screenwriter, film director
  • Gene Anthony Ray (1962-2003), American actor, dancer, and choreographer, best known for his work on the Fame movie and television series
  • Marguerite "Dixy Lee" Ray (1914-1994), American politician, the 17th Governor of the U.S. State of Washington
  • First Lieutenant Bernard J Ray, American officer awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1944
  • Man Emmanuel Rabinovich Ray (1890-1976), American painter
  • Mrs. Alton S. Ray Jr., American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Texas, 1972 [18]
  • Alphonso Ray, American politician, Candidate for U.S. Senator from New Mexico, 1934 [18]
  • Allen S. Ray, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1908, 1912 [18]
  • Albert Ray, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Iowa State House of Representatives from Adair County, 1948 [18]
  • ... (Another 138 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Grover Shoe factory
  • Mr. Albert S. Ray, American employee of the Grover Shoe factory in Brockton, Massachusetts on 20th March 1905 when the boiler exploded and collapsed the wooden building; he died [19]
HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Harold George Ray (1920-1941), Australian Able Seaman from Spring Hill, Queensland, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [20]
HMS Prince of Wales
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Frederick Dent Ray, aged 32, English Saloon Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking by escaping in life boat 13 [22]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Harry Joseph Ray, American Boatswain's Mate Second Class from California, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [23]


The Ray 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.


Suggested Readings for the name Ray +

  • Bound For the Promised Land: History of the Ray and Armstrong Families by Joan Cervenka Cob.
  • The Wests and the Rays and Allied Lines: Southern Families from the Colonies to Texas by Nan Overton West.

  1. ^ Lower, 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. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  5. ^ http://www.journaldesfemmes.com/nom-de-famille/nom/
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  7. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  8. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  9. ^ 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)
  10. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  11. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 52)
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 28th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/duke-of-portland
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  14. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dromedary
  15. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bussorah-merchant
  16. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  17. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  18. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 9) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  19. ^ California Digital Newspaper from 21st March 1905 (retrieved on 5th August 2021.) Retrieved from https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=SFC19050321.2.19&e=-------en--20--1--txt-txIN--------1
  20. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  21. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  22. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
  23. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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