Way History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Way family goes back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It is derived from the family living in Dorset where Roger de Waie was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1194. Later William Waye was recorded in 1236 and Richard de la Weye was found in Devon in 1249.

In Cambridgeshire, John ate Wey was recorded in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1279. The name literally means "dweller by the road (OE weg) or at a place called Atteweye, the name in 1306 of Way in Thorverton (Devon), or at Atway (Devon)." [1]

The same source notes the family could have originated at Waye (Devon, Dorset.) [1]

Early Origins of the Way family

The surname Way was first found in Dorset. The aforementioned Hundredorum Rolls also included Thomas de la Weye, Kent. [2]

"The name is found in North Devon, temp. Henry VII.; and in that district the termination way is of frequent occurrence in the names of farms, homesteads, and the like, without any reference to, or connection with, roads. The mullets hauriant [(fish swimming)] in the arms of one family have been supposed to be allusive to the river Wey, co. Dorset, in which mullets are abundant. Ate-Wey is one of the forms in Hundredorum Rolls. It may be an old baptismal designation, as Wege or Weghe is found in Domesday Book as the name of a tenant anterior to the Survey." [3]

Early History of the Way family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Way research. Another 71 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1407, 1476, 1407, 1430 and 1442 are included under the topic Early Way History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Way Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Way include Way, Waye, Wey, Whey, Weigh, Weghe and others.

Early Notables of the Way family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: William Wey or Way (1407?-1476), an English traveller and author, born in Devonshire apparently in 1407, was educated at Oxford. In 1430, he became fellow of...
Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Way Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Way Ranking

In the United States, the name Way is the 2,605th most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. [4] However, in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Way is ranked the 189th most popular surname with an estimated 217 people with that name. [5]

Ireland Migration of the Way family to Ireland

Some of the Way family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Way migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Way or a variant listed above:

Way Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Elizabeth Way, who settled in Nantasket, Massachusetts in 1630
  • George Way, who settled in Boston in 1633
  • Aaron Way, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1651 [6]
  • George Way, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1651 [6]
  • Edward Way, who settled in Virginia in 1655
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Way Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Mary Way, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [6]
  • Morris Way, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [6]
  • Ernest A Way, who landed in Frederick County, Maryland in 1798 [6]
Way Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Way, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1806 [6]
  • Francis Way, aged 23, who arrived in New York in 1812 [6]
  • Eilen Way, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [6]
  • Ellen Way, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [6]
  • H Way, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [6]

Canada Way migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Way Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Richard Way was a merchant of St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1779 [7]
  • Mr. Titus Way U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [8]
  • Phillip and William Way, who settled in Bona Vista Newfoundland in 1792 [7]
Way Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John B Way, who arrived in Canada in 1831

Australia Way migration to Australia +

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

Way Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Way, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Elphinstone" on 27th May 1837, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [9]
  • Mr. Samuel Way, English convict who was convicted in Bristol, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Egyptian" on 5th April 1839, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • Caroline Way, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duke of Bedford" in 1848 [11]
  • Elizabeth Way, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "David Malcolm" in 1849 [12]
  • Emma Way, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "David Malcolm" in 1849 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Way 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:

Way Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Walter Way, (b. 1818), aged 23, British agricultural labourer travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Timandra" arriving in New Plymouth, Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand on 24th February 1842 [13]
  • Mrs. Mary Ann Way, (b. 1818), aged 23, British settler travelling from Plymouth aboard the ship "Timandra" arriving in New Plymouth, Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand on 24th February 1842 [13]
  • J. B. Way, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Nimroud" in 1860
  • Miss Mary Ann Way, British settler travelling from London, UK with 1 child aboard the ship "Assaye" arriving in Auckland, North Island, New Zealand on 26th December 1874 [14]
  • Miss Sarah Way, British settler travelling from London, UK with 1 child aboard the ship "Assaye" arriving in Auckland, North Island, New Zealand on 26th December 1874 [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Way (post 1700) +

  • Gerard Way (b. 1977), American lead singer of the band My Chemical Romance
  • DeAndre Way (b. 1990), American rapper, better known by his stage name Soulja Boy Tell 'Em
  • Danny Way (b. 1974), American professional skateboarder
  • George F. Way, American politician, Delegate to Maine convention to ratify 21st amendment from Penobscot County, 1933 [15]
  • George B. Way (1811-1868), American politician, Mayor of Toledo, Ohio, 1844-45 [15]
  • Francis G. Way, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from East Lyme, 1904 [15]
  • Ebenezer Way, American politician, Postmaster at New London, Connecticut, 1816-38 [15]
  • Daniel S. Way Jr., American Democratic Party politician, Member of Michigan Democratic State Central Committee, 1947-49; Candidate for Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1948 [15]
  • Charles M. Way, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, 1894 [15]
  • C. Daniel Way, American Republican politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Hebron; Elected 1904 [15]
  • ... (Another 23 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Oswald Way, British Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse (1941) and survived the sinking [16]


Suggested Readings for the name Way +

  • Descendants of Robert and Hannah Hickman Way of Chester County, Pennsylvania by D. Herbert Way.
  • Hezekiah Hiatt & Sarah Davison Way; Their Ancestors and Descendants by Mary Elizabeth Way.

  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  5. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  8. ^ 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
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 18th March 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/elphinstone
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 26th January 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/egyptian
  11. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) DUKE OF BEDFORD 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848DukeofBedford.htm
  12. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) DAVID MALCOLM 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849DavidMalcolm.htm
  13. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  14. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  15. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  16. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html


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