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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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

The ancestors of the Rea family lived among the Strathclyde-Briton people in the 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.

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In Medieval times, spelling and translation were not nearly so highly developed as today. They were generally carried out according to the sound and intuition of the bearer. For that reason spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. Rea has been spelled Rae, Rea, Ree, Ray and others.

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]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rea research. Another 319 words (23 lines of text) covering the years 1487, 1465, 1530, 1558, 1350, 1612, 1376, 1627, 1705 and are included under the topic Early Rea History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 79 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rea Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Rea family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 127 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Unrest, poverty, and persecution caused thousands to look for opportunity and freedom in the North American colonies. The crossing was long, overcrowded, and unsanitary, though, and came only at great expense. Many Strathclyde families settled on the east coast of North America in communities that would form the backbone of what would become the great nations of the United States and Canada. The American War of Independence caused those who remained loyal to England to move north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the 20th century, Strathclyde and other Scottish families across North America began to recover their collective heritage through highland games and Clan societies. Among them:

Rea Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Hugh Rea settled in Virginia in 1737
  • Archibald, Elizabeth, Andrew, John, Margaret, Patrick, and Andrew Rea settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1767
  • Frances Rea, who landed in South Carolina in 1772
  • Sarah Rea, who landed in South Carolina in 1772
  • Archibald Rea, who landed in Mississippi in 1798

Rea Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • David Rea settled in New York State in 1804
  • John Rea, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1804
  • Henry Rea, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1810
  • William Rea, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • James Rea, aged 22, arrived in New York in 1812


Rea Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • William Rea, aged 24, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast
  • Mary Ann Rea, aged 21, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast
  • Martin Rea, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843

Rea Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • William Rea, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • James Rea, English convict from Hereford, who was transported aboard the "Adamant" on March 16, 1821, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • John Rea, a coach-painter, arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832

Rea Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • William Rea arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Success" in 1839
  • Thomas Rea, aged 38, a labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgeway" in 1840
  • Margaret Rea, aged 34, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgeway" in 1840
  • Hugh Rea a labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Romulus" in 1862
  • Thomas Rea a farmer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Romulus" in 1862


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  • Peggy Rea (1921-2011), American actress, best known for her role in The Dukes of Hazzard
  • Herald Rea Cox (1907-1986), American bacteriologist
  • George Rea (1894-1978), American banker and former president of Drexel University
  • Jack "Jackie" Rea (1921-2013), British snooker player from Northern Ireland, Irish Professional Champion (19471949) and (19521972)
  • Christopher Anton "Chris" Rea (b. 1951), English singer-songwriter
  • John Rea (b. 1944), Canadian classical music composer
  • Carleton Rea (1861-1946), English mycologist, botanist, and naturalist
  • John Nicolas Rea (b. 1928), 3rd Baron Rea, British peer
  • Philip Russell Rea (1900-1981), 2nd Baron Rea, British peer
  • Walter Russell Rea (1873-1948), 1st Baron Rea, British merchant banker


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  • Ancestors of Joseph Bolen & Mary Read by Todd Bolen.
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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.

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  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)

Other References

  1. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  2. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  3. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  4. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  5. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  7. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  8. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  10. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  11. ...

The Rea Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Rea 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 11 January 2016 at 15:43.

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