An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
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.
The surname Rea 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. "  Thomas filius Ray witnessed confirmation by Alexander, son of Walter, of his father's gift to the church of Paisley in 1239.  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. 
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.
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.
Another 79 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rea Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
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.
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
Rea Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Rea Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
Rea Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
Rea Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
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.
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.