A GROWING RESOURCE FOR RESEARCHING GRAY FAMILY HISTORY
The purpose of The Gray Nation site is to assist genealogists in their search for Gray ancestors and relatives. Currently, the People database contains 6,359 individuals (792 surnames) with information on birth, death, burial, marriage, immigration and military service. In some cases, photos are included. The source of most of the records is ScotlandsPeople, an excellent site. Everything else comes from Ancestry.com, family archives, location visits and e-mailed contributions from sources around the world. It can be said that the sun never sets on the Gray family.
Everyone knows that the Gray name is quite common throughout the world. To attempt to document all branches of this family with one site would be a very tall order. Therefore this site will set its initial focus on the branch that has its roots in South Lanarkshire region in Scotland. By the 17th century, these Grays resided in the Carmichael (Ponfeigh) area. Over time they migrated to nearby places such as Carstairs, Pettinain, Carnwath and Carluke. They earned their living as farmers, joiners, carpenters, laborers, shipbuilders, miners, masons, railroaders, tailors, shopkeepers, threadmill workers and entrepreneurs.
Beginning with the early years of the 20th century, many Grays emigrated and some settled in and around the town of Kearny, New Jersey. This part of the story would not be complete without mention of another Scottish family: the Blacks. Members of the John & Mary Hamilton Black family emigrated from Paisley to Brooklyn, NY and Kearny around the same time. John Allan Gray and Susan Black married in Kearny and formed one American branch of the Gray family tree.
Kearny's Scottish community was established in the mid to late 19th century. Companies such as Clark Thread (now Coats & Clark) of Paisley, DuPont and Nairn Linoleum provided employment opportunities for immigrant families such as Balfour, Friars, Gildawie, McCallum, Shaw, Spence, Stark, Stevenson and Waugh. There were so many people from Paisley living in Kearny it was dubbed “Little Paisley” and the tram driver would shout out “Paisley Cross” when he reached the crossroads at Bergen and Kearny Avenues.
New information, photos or documents about these Grays or any of the relatives is greatly appreciated. If you wish to contribute or have questions, corrections or comments, please use firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the following link to send an e-mail to webmaster James Gray. Thank you very much.
Origins of the Gray Family Name
The name Gray was first used by the Boernicians, an ancient Scottish tribe. It is a name for a person who had gray hair. In Scotland, the surname Gray actually came from two different derivations. As a nickname, it came from the Gaelic word riabhach, which means gray. As a habitational name, it derived from the place named Graye, in Calvados, France. This place-name came from the Gallo-Roman personal name, Gratus, which means welcome or pleasing. Gray is therefore a nickname and a habitation name, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Nicknames form a broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, and can refer directly or indirectly to one's personality, physical attributes, mannerisms, or even their habits of dress. Habitation names are one of several types of local names, including: topographic surnames, which could be given to a person who lived beside any physical feature, such as a hill, stream, church or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties.
Before the first dictionaries and printing presses went into use, the spelling of names was a largely intuitive matter. Consequently, many spelling variations occur in even the simplest names from the Middle Ages. Gray has been spelled Gray, Grey, Groy, Croy, Graye and others.
The Gray family in the United States is numerous, widespread and consists of many diverse branches. They were among the Pilgrims of New England, the Quakers of Pennsylvania and the early settlers of Virginia and other southern states. Within the first century, between 1620 and 1720, research indicates that there were at least twenty different families of Grays, or different branches of the same family, which had emigrated to this country and made their homes in the New World. As early as 1622, two brothers, Thomas and John Gray, had become proprietors of the island of Nantasket in Boston Harbor by purchase from the Indians. Abraham Gray is mentioned as among the Pilgrim refugees at Leiden, Holland in 1622. Source: houseofnames.com
Heading Level 3
Top Ten Surnames in People database:
Top Twenty Given names in People database:
Heading Level 3
GordonMac.com serves FREE HTML designs styled and built with minimalism and web standards in mind. Proprietor Gordon Mackay is a web developer from the NE Highlands of Scotland.
Loch Ness Monster Hugh Gray is the man who took the first photograph of Nessie.
Pillans World An excellent genealogical site for the Pillans family and relatives.
The worldwide family of Cadzow is one of the most ancient names in Scotland. This site has been awarded the Scottish Names Research Award of Excellence.
ScotlandsPeople One of the largest online sources of original genealogical information with almost 80 million records to access.
Scotland's History Explore 5,000 years of people, events and artifacts.
The Gathering of the Clans These pages are designed to help you find out if you have any clan affiliations.
Scottish Military Research Group An online community open to anyone with an interest in Scottish Military history and genealogy.
Paisley Tartan Army are keen supporters of the national football team and patriots out to preserve Scotland's history and culture.
Town of Kearny, NJ A short history of the most Scottish town in the US.
West Hudson: A Cradle of American Soccer One of the most vital areas of American soccer, the region of northern New Jersey that centered on the town of Kearny and was most often known as West Hudson.
Shipdham Flying Club is a group of flyers and friends who operate Shipdham Airfield in Norfolkshire, England. The airfield was the WWII base of the 44th Bomb Group of the US Eighth Air Force (Flying Eightballs).
Heading Level 3
Immigration: The top 4 immigrant ships are SS Caledonia, SS Furnessia, SS Cameronia and SS Florida.