My Gray Family History

Welcome to my Gray family web site.

Many hours have been put into the research and documentation of my Gray Family.

I hope you enjoy your visit and benefit from the information I present here.

History of the Gray name

The name Gray originated from the name of a place in Burgundy, France where in the department of Haute-Saone, there is now a town by the name of Gray. The town's original name was Croy.

A Norman Chief by the name of Rolf invaded France in the ninth century with his Norwegian family and followers. After his arrival, a conflict broke out between Rolf and the King of France. To settle the conflict, Rolf accepted from the king a portion of his kingdom which was named Normandy in honor of the Northern Viking.

Upon receiving the land, Rolf was bestowed the title of "Robert", "Duke of Normandy". At that time, a family member was bestowed the title of "Chamberlain" and in turn received the Honor and Castle of Croy. Having received such honor, the family assumed the name de Croy. In time, the name was shortened to Croy and later to Gray.

In 1066 when William the Conqueror invaded England and fought the Battle of Hastings, knights from the Gray family accompanied the invasion force. Among the family names inscribed at the Battle of Abbey after the Battle of Hastings is the name J. de Gray. From that time forward, the Gray family has been considered an English family associated with honor and royalty. Many of the proudest titles of England have for centuries been born by the Gray family.

A sister of Henry VIII married the Duke of Suffolk, who was from the Gray family. Their daughter, Lady Jane Gray/Grey wore the Crown of England for a short period of time prior to her death.

With the possession of title and influence, the Gray family flourished and descendants spread northward to Scotland. The first Gray family member recorded in Scotland was Hugo de Gray, as witnessed in a charter by Walter de Lundin in approximately 1248. Hugo de Gray is considered to be the baron of the Gray families of Scotland. Sir Andrew Gray was one of the first Scottish warriors to scale the rock of Edinburgh Castle when it was taken from the English in 1312.

In the 17th century, Gray families migrated to Ulster in Northern Ireland. The Orr manuscripts suggest the Gray families were among the earliest Scottish settlers in Ulster in 1606.

As a result of religious persecutions, the Scottish-Irish Gray families left Northern Ireland and came to America sometime between 1620 and 1720. They were among some of the earliest families to settle in Maine, Massachusetts, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Early Scottish-Irish ancestral records indicate that the Gray families were predominantly Presbyterian-Protestants as was evident by the use of male Christian first names such as James, Matthew, William, John, Isaac, Andrew and Robert.

It is recognized by English Authority that the name "Gray", "de Gray" and
"de Croy" are of the same surname having descended from the house and castle of de Croy / de Gray in France.


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