Show ContentsWey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestry of the name Wey dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from when the family lived 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 Wey family

The surname Wey 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 Wey family

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

Wey Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Wey have been found, including Way, Waye, Wey, Whey, Weigh, Weghe and others.

Early Notables of the Wey family

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 Exeter College. He held his fellowship at...

Ireland Migration of the Wey family to Ireland

Some of the Wey 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 Wey migration to the United States +

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Wey, or a variant listed above:

Wey Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • G M Wey, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1727 [4]

Australia Wey migration to Australia +

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

Wey Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Henry Wey, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Baring" in December 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [5]

New Zealand Wey 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:

Wey Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Wey, aged 32, a labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rooparell" in 1874
  • Emily Wey, aged 30, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rooparell" in 1874
  • Charles Wey, aged 6, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rooparell" in 1874
  • Martha Wey, aged 4, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rooparell" in 1874


  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. 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. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/baring


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