Ray Name Meaning

English (of Norman origin): nickname denoting someone who behaved in a regal fashion or who had earned the title in some contest of skill or by presiding over festivities, from Old French rey, roy ‘king’. Occasionally this was used as a personal name. English: nickname for a timid person, from Middle English ray ‘female roe deer’ or northern Middle English ray ‘roebuck’. English: variant of Rye (1 and 2). English: habitational name, a variant spelling of Wray. Scottish: reduced and altered form of McRae. French: from a noun derivative of Old French raier ‘to gush, stream, or pour’, hence a topographic name for someone who lived near a spring or rushing stream, or a habitational name from a place called Ray. 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

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Ray Family Origin

Where is the Ray family from?

Ray Family Occupations

What did your Ray ancestors do for a living?

In 1881, Labourer, Coal Miner and Farmer were the top 3 reported jobs worked by Ray. The most common Ray occupation in the UK was Labourer. 4% of Ray's were Labourers. A less common occupation for the Ray family was Agricultural Labourer.

View Census data for Ray | Data not to scale

  • Labourer

  • Coal Miner

  • Farmer

  • Agricultural Labourer


Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your Ray ancestors, such as occupation. Occupation can tell you about your ancestor's social and economic status.

Ray Historical Records

What Ray family records will you find?

Census Record

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 1891 UK census records for Ray

Passenger List

There are 51,000 immigration records available for the last name Ray. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the UK, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

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Draft Card

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.

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You've only scratched the surface of Ray family history.

Ray Life Expectancy

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

An unusually short lifespan might indicate that your Ray ancestors lived in harsh conditions. A short lifespan might also indicate health problems that were once prevalent in your family. The SSDI is a searchable database of more than 70 million names. You can find birthdates, death dates, addresses and more.

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