Last name: Ray

This is a surname with one of the most ancient origins. It derives from an Olde British word 'ea' pronounced 'ay' and describes someone who lived by a stream. More pragmatically it probably referred to somebody who lived on dry land by a stream, since before the days of land drainage to find 'dry land' was vital. It is true that some nameholders particularly those who originate in the Sussex - Kent region of England, may derive from the town of Rye, which means what it says - 'the place where corn was grown'. In Early English the descriptive phrase was 'aet paere ea' (at the island) which by the Middle ages had become 'at ther ee', and thence was further shortened to 'atte rie' and hence the modern surname which can be found as Ray, Rea, Reay, Wrey, Raye, and even Nye, formerly 'atten ea'! Examples of early recordings include William atte Rea in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, William bith Ree in the 1293 rolls of Worcester, and John atte Reye in the Essex Rolls of 1327. The Coat of Arms granted in Northumberland has the blazon of a blue field, a plate between three silver crescents. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de la Reye, which was dated 1279, in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as 'The hammer of the Scots', 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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prince kumar ray
my father surname is ray and he was migrated from what is my real origin

What is the BEST webside for surname research?

My great-grandfather was also native american Emmet Ray

Janie Ray Payne
Our last name was from Cherokee Indian descent. My grandfather, Martin Ray, came over on the Trail of Tears from North Carolina to Oklahoma.

Rachael Ray
I always thought it was native American because my grandfather, Monte Ray, and his dad and so forth are all native American from Cherokee. I'm really curious to know if that's the real origin or if it's something else.

Morgan Ray

I am Morgan Ray and I am interested in this


My GGG Grandfather was a Ray. I am a black woman. They were Dr William Dunn Ray (Gggg graandfather) and Robert Templeton Ray he fathered a child with Elvira Royal. I thought from that side it was Irish

james allen ray

Interesting I was adopted by Dennis James Ray and my mother Melinda Ann ray, who was a pressley before she was Wed. All of my father's family have a reddish colored hair if not red . Interesting

Eric Ray
I am Eric Ray & this is very interesting. Other pages on websites say The Ray's in Scotland were sworn protectors of some very notable clans.

hi I'm jossie ray

Sierra Ray
Hi I'm Sierra Ray