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Origins of the Gray surname

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What does the name Gray mean?

The Gray surname has two prominent hypothesised points of origin, both prevalent across Britain. Firstly (and most commonly in Scotland) Gray is believed to be a descriptive name, referring to those who had grey hair or complexion (from the Scots word). Secondly, a number of people with the surname Gray descend from the Normans who arrived from the town of Graye-sur-Mer, Normandy. Notably a knight named Anchetil de Greye was known to have fought at the Battle of Hastings and is believed to be the ancestor of a large number of these individuals.

Alternative variations of the name Gray

Gray, Grey, Graye, Greye, Groy

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Delve deeper into the Gray family's history

Where do most Grays live?

In 1921, most Grays lived in London.

Census records trace your ancestors through each generation, so you can follow where your relatives lived through each decade.

Interesting facts about Grays

How common is your surname?

72nd most common surname in the UK

We have 406,000 records for the Gray surname. The oldest one dates back to 1100.

Who were Grays most likely to marry?




Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Grays.

What are the most common Gray first names?

  • John
  • William
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

Our birth record sets tell us the names of Gray family members

Common jobs for Grays

Men and women often performed different types of jobs, so these are displayed by gender to maintain their historical accuracy.

Common Female occupations for Grays in 1921


Domestic Servant






House Servant


Common Male occupations for Grays in 1921
Coal Miner


Agricultural Labourer


General Labourer






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