History of your Surname
Get access to Ray family records.Start a free trial

Ray Family History

Ray Name Meaning

English: from the Middle English personal name Ray or Rey perhaps a pet form of names beginning in Ray or Rey especially Raymond . English: nickname from Old French rei ‘king’ denoting someone who behaved in a regal fashion one with the bearing of a king or referring to the mock king or lord in festive games and pageants e.g. at Christmas May Day or harvest. Compare Roy and King . English: nickname from Middle English ræghe (Old English rǣge) ‘female roe deer’ or in northern England more likely northern Middle English raa rae ray (Old English ) ‘roe deer’ perhaps for a timid person or swift runner. Compare Roe . English: variant of Rye (1 and ). English: post-medieval form of Wray or vice versa. Scottish: shortened and altered form of McRae .7: French: topographic name for someone who lived by a spring or rushing stream Old French rai (a noun derivative of Old French raier ‘to gush stream or pour’) or a habitational name from a place called Ray. Compare Leray .8: Americanized form of Polish and Slovenian Raj .9: Indian: variant of Rai .

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press


Similar surnames: May, Hay, Roy, Kay, Rey, Fay, Bay, Pay, Gay, Ram

Search for a relative to learn more about your family history.

Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

Black & white image of a young woman scientist

Where is the Ray family from?

You can see how Ray families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Ray family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Ray families were found in USA in 1880. In 1911 there were 1,784 Ray families living in Quebec. This was about 55% of all the recorded Ray's in Canada. Quebec had the highest population of Ray families in 1911.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Ray surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Ray ancestors do for a living?

In 1921, Farmer and Student were the top reported jobs for men and women in the Canada named Ray. 20% of Ray men worked as a Farmer and 8% of Ray women worked as a Student. Some less common occupations for Americans named Ray were Laborer and Income. .

View Census Data for Ray | 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
    20%
  • Cultivateur
    15%
  • Labourer
    8%
  • Laborer
    7%

Top Female Occupations In 1921

  • Student
    8%
  • Stenographer
    8%
  • Cultivateur
    7%
  • Income
    6%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Ray family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 750,000 census records available for the last name Ray. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Ray census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search Canadian census records for Ray

Passenger Lists

There are 51,000 immigration records available for the last name Ray. 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 Ray immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 166,000 military records available for the last name Ray. For the veterans among your Ray ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Ray military records

You've only scratched the surface of Ray family history

Discover More

What is the average Ray lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, Ray life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1944, and highest in 2004. The average life expectancy for Ray in 1940 was 41, and 74 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Ray

Discover the unique achievements of ancestors in the Ray family tree

Explore Your Tree
Search for another surname
Start a 14-Day Free Trial