Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Gray Name
Origins of Name:
The surname of Gray is one that is associated with multiple possible origins from which it came about. The first possible origin for the surname of Gray is that is a nickname for someone who had gray hair or who had a gray beard. This nickname itself derives from the Old English Pre 7th Century word of “graeg” which can be interpreted to mean “gray.” In both Scottish and Irish cultures, this nickname of “gray” is also a part of the culture. However, the Scottish and Irish get their nickname from the Old Gaelic word of “riabhach” which can be translated to mean “brindled,” or “gray.” The surname was adopted from these nicknames, and became hereditary after the first generation. The other possible origin of the surname of Gray is that it was a locational surname. This means that the surname of Gray was often taken by the Lord or owner of the land from which the name derives. Others who may have take a locational surname are people who have migrated out of the area to seek out work. The easiest way to identify someone who was a stranger at that time was by the name of their birthplace. This locational name was French, and was the city of Graye, which was located in Calvados, Normandy. This locational surname was introduced to the country of England following the Norman Conquest of the year 1066. The name of the village of Graye was believed to have derived from the Roman personal given name of “Gratus” which can be translated to mean “welcome,” and the suffix of “acum” which can be translated to mean “a settlement.”
More common variations are: Grey, Greay, Garay, Goray, Graye, Grayo, Graya, Ghray, Graey, Grayu, Grayy, MacGray, McGray, McGrey, McGreay, McGrah
The first recorded spelling of the surname of Gray was found within the country of England. One person by the name of Anschitill Grai was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. It it important to remember that the Doomsday Book was created to encompass the “Great Survey” of the country of England at that time. This document, the Doomsday Book, was ordered, decreed, and written under the reign of one King William I, who was known throughout the ages as “William the Conqueror.” King William I of England ruled from the year 1066 to the year 1086. Other mentions of the surname of Gray can be found throughout the country of England. Baldwin Grai was mentioned in the Pipe Rolls of the County Berkshire in the year of 1173, while Henry de Gray was mentioned in the Pipe Rolls of Nottinghamshire in the year of 1196. Those who bear the surname of Gray can be found in the counties of Durham and Yorkshire.
There are many people who carry the surname of Gray within the country of Scotland. Those areas with the largest concentration of people who are known by the surname of Gray are within Lanarkshire County.
It is believed that all of those who bear the surname of Gray within the country of Ireland have actually migrated from the country of Scotland.
United States of America:
Those who are called Gray can be found in Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, Virginia, Missouri, California, and Texas.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Gray: United States 273,083; England 51,565; Australia 28,489; Canada 23,934; South Africa 13,935; Liberia 13,771; Scotland 11,846; New Zealand 5,678; Jamaica 5,247; Nigeria 4,279
William “Bill” Mason Gray (1929-2016) who was an Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University
Coleen Gray (1922-2015) who was born with the name Doris Bernice Jensen, who was an actress from America, who was best known for her portrayal of roles in the 1947 film Nightmare Alley, the 1948 film Red River, and the 1956 film The Killing
Freddie Carlos Gray Jr. (1989-2015) who was an African-American man who was arrested by the police for allegedly possessing an illegal switchblade and fell into a coma and later died at a trauma center
Mr. James Paul Gray, who who was a Second Class passenger from Oakland, California who was aboard the RMS Lusitania at the time of the sinking, and did survived the sinking of the vessel by escaping on an overturned collapsible in the year 1915
Mrs. Terence Florence Gray (died in 1915) who was a Second Class passenger from Los Angeles, California who was aboard the RMS Lusitania at the time of the sinking, and did not survive the sinking of the vessel
Master Stuart James Gray (died in 1915) who was a Second Class passenger from Los Angeles, California who was aboard the RMS Lusitania at the time of the sinking, and did not survive the sinking of the vessel
Gray Family Gift Ideas
Browse Gray family gift ideas and products below. If there are multiple coats of arms for this surname, you will see them at the top of this page and can click on the various coat of arms designs to apply them to the gift ideas below.
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Gray Family Crest Ping Pong Table$167.59Purchase »
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Blazons & Genealogy Notes
1) (Baron Gray). Motto—Anchor, fast anchor. Gu. a lion ramp, within a bordure engr. ar. Crest—An anchor (sans cable) in pale or. Supporters—Two lions guard. gu.
2) (Ballegarno, co. Perth). Motto—Anchor fast. Gu. a lion ramp. ar. in his dexter paw an anchor or, a bordure engr. of the second.
3) (Warriestoun, 1672). Motto—Vigetin cinere virtus. Gu. a lion ramp. ar. in his dexter paw a stalk of wheat ppr. Crest—A lily slipped, seeded, and bladed ppr.
4) (Edinburgh, 1680, cadet of Schivas, co. Aberdeen). Motto—Secura quee prudentes. Gu. a lion ramp. ar. holding betw. his paws an anchor az. environed with an adder ppr.
5) (Haystoun, 1672). Motto—Concussus surgo. (Dr. George Gray, Calcutta, 1749). Gu. a lion ramp. ar. holding in his dexter paw a writing pen ppr. Crest—A fox reguard. ppr.
6) (Carse, co. Forfar). Motto—Anchor fast. Gu. a lion ramp. within a bordure wavy ar. Crest—An anchor fessways fastened to a cable ppr.
7) (Carntyne, formerly of Dalmamock, co. Lanark; now represented by Mrs. Anstruther Thomson, of Charlton, as heir of line). Motto—Fast. Gu. a lion ramp. betw. three cinquefoils ar. all within a bordure engr. of the last. Crest—An anchor cabled, stuck fast in the sea all ppr.
8) (William Gray, Dingwall, Pursuivant, 1726). Motto—Constant. Gu. a lion ramp. ar. within a bordure engr. of the last, charged with eight thistles ppr. Crest—A heart ppr.
9) (Francis Delaval Gray, Esq., 14th Light Dragoons, son and heir of the late John Gray, Esq., of Hartsheath Park, co. Flint, and, maternally, a descendant of the ancient family of Delaval). Mottoes—Over the crest: Clarior e tenebris; under the arms: Vixi liber et moriar. Quarterly, 1st and 4th, gu. within a bordure engr.a lion ramp. ar.; 2nd and 3rd, quarterly, 1st and 4th, erm. two bars vert; 2nd and 3rd, ar. a fesse az. betw. an eagle displ. with two heads in chief and a lion ramp, in base sa. Crest—Out of a mural crown a phoenix in flames ppr.
10) (William Gray, Esq., of York). Barry of six ar. and az. on a bend gu. three roses of the first. Crest—On a chapeau a wivern gu.
11) (Bishopwearmouth, co. Durham). Motto—Anchor, fast anchor. Vert a lion ramp. within a bordure engr. ar. Crest—An anchor erect or, tbe rope waved ppr.
12) (Dowland, co. Essex; granted 1634). Gu. a lion ramp. or, within a bordure engr. erm. a canton of the last. Crest—A ram's head couped ar.
13) (co. Essex). Ar. a bend vert cotised indented gu.
14) (co. Essex). Barry of six ar. and az. a bend gu.
15) (Exeter). Or, on a bend az. three mullets of the first.
16) (London; granted April, 1635). Barry of six ar. and az. on a bend gu. three chaplets or.
17) (Gray's Inn, co. Middlesex). Gu. a lion ramp. ar. a bordure gobonated of the last and sa. bezantee.
18) (Newcastle-upon-Tyne). Same Arms. Crest—On a ducal coronet or, a phoenix in flames ppr.
19) (Martin and Tarbrook, co. Norfolk. Visit. 1634). Az. a fesse betw. two chev. or.
20) (Ouchester). Motto—De bon vouloir servir le Roy. Ar. a lion ramp. gu. Crest—A scaling ladder of two rows, ensigned with a ram’s head couped all ppr.
21) Barry of six ar. and az. in chief three torteaux depressed with a label of as many points erm. Crest—In a sun or, a unicorn pass. erm.
22) (Farley Hill Place, co. Berks, and Crompton Fold, co. Lancaster). Motto—Tenebo. Az. a lion ramp, within an orle of annulets ar. a bordure indented erm. Crest—Upon a rock ppr. a bear's paw erect and erased sa. grasping a snake entwined around it also ppr.
23) (East Bolton, co. Northumberland). Gu. in an orle of eight fleurs-de-lis a lion ramp. ar. the whole within a bordure engr. erm. Crest—A bear's paw grasping a snake.
24) Ar. a bend vert cotised gu.
25) Ar. three bars az. on a bend gu. as many leopards’ faces or.
26) Barry of six ar. and az. on a bend gu. three escallops (another, fleurs-de-lis) or.
27) (Charleville House, Rathmines, co. Dublin; granted to Sir John Gray, Knt., M.D., Chairman of the Waterworks Committee, Dublin Corporation). Motto—Anchor, fast anchor. "Varty" is commemorative of the zeal and ability evinced by Sir John as Chairman of the [Vartry] Waterworks Committee of the Dublin Corporation) Ar. an anchor erect sa. entwined by a ribbon az. with the word "Vartry" inscribed thereon in letters of gold, on a canton of the third a castle of the first flammant ppr. (as in the arms of the City of Dublin). Crest—An anchor erect sa. entwined, as in the arms, with a ribbon az. with the word "Vartry" inscribed thereon in letters of gold.
28) (granted, 1813, to James Gray, Esq., of Ballincor, King's co., son of Francis Gray, Esq., of Lehana, co. Cork). Motto—Proestare et prodesse. Ar. three closets az. in chief as many annulets gu. Crest—A demi lion ramp. or, holding in his mouth an annulet, as in the arms.
29) (Ireland; Patent 1612). Ar. three bars az. in chief as many annulets gu. Crest—A griffin’s head erased ar. beaked or, holding in the beak an annulet gu.
30) (Segenhoe, co. Bedford, Essex, and Pellham, co. Hertford). Ar. a bend vert cotised dancettee gu. Crest—A demi woman couped at the waist ppr. hair flotant or, holding in each hand a sprig of laurel vert.