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Gay Family History

Gay Surname Meaning

English (southwestern) French and Catalan: nickname for a lighthearted or cheerful person from Middle English Old French gai Catalan gay ‘cheerful’. In Middle English the term could also mean ‘wanton lascivious’ and this sense may lie behind the surname in some instances. English (of Norman origin): habitational name from any of the places in Normandy called Gaye from an early proprietor bearing an ancient Germanic personal name cognate with Wade . Catalan: probably also from the personal name Gai (from Latin Gaius). Galician: habitational name from Gai in the province of Lugo. German: variant of Gau . North German: from a Frisian personal name Gay.7: Americanized form of Polish Slovak and Rusyn (from Slovakia) Gaj .8: Chinese: variant Romanization of the surnames 蓋 (see Gai ) and 倪 (see Ni ).

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, 2022

Similar surnames: May, Hay, Kay, Ray, Say, Pay, Bay, Fay, Gal, Goy

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Where is the Gay family from?

You can see how Gay families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Gay family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Gay families were found in USA in 1880. In 1911 there were 319 Gay families living in Ontario. This was about 42% of all the recorded Gay's in Canada. Ontario had the highest population of Gay families in 1911.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Gay surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Gay ancestors do for a living?

In 1921, Farmer and Housekeeper were the top reported jobs for men and women in the Canada named Gay. 35% of Gay men worked as a Farmer and 12% of Gay women worked as a Housekeeper. Some less common occupations for Americans named Gay were Laborer and Saleslady. .

View Census Data for Gay | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations In 1921

  • Farmer
  • Labourer
  • Carpenter
  • Laborer

Top Female Occupations In 1921

  • Housekeeper
  • Clerk
  • Teacher
  • Saleslady
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What Gay family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 246,000 census records available for the last name Gay. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Gay census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search Canadian census records for Gay

Passenger Lists

There are 25,000 immigration records available for the last name Gay. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Canada, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all Gay immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 39,000 military records available for the last name Gay. For the veterans among your Gay ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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What is the average Gay lifespan?

Between 1943 and 2004, in the United States, Gay life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1950, and highest in 2003. The average life expectancy for Gay in 1943 was 36, and 73 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Gay

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