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Origins of the May surname

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What does the name May mean?

May is an English surname with a few possible sources of origin. It is believed by some to be a derivation of the Middle English 'may' (warrior or kinsman) and be given to those who descend from someone with this occupation or responsibility. Others say that it is patronymic and stems from someone who is the son or descendant of 'Matthew' or 'May' (the diminutive form of the same name).

Alternative variations of the name May

May, Mays, Maye, Mayes, Maiy

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Where do most Mays live?

In 1921, most Mays 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 Mays

How common is your surname?

186th most common surname in the UK

We have 196,000 records for the May surname. The oldest one dates back to 1538.

Who were Mays most likely to marry?

Smiths

&

Johnsons

Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Mays.

What are the most common May first names?

  • John
  • William
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

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

Common jobs for Mays

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

Common Female occupations for Mays in 1921
Dressmaker

998

Laundress

680

Domestic Servant

502

General Servant Domestic

494

General Servant

391

Common Male occupations for Mays in 1921
Agricultural Labourer

972

General Labourer

801

Carpenter

630

Farm Labourer

523

Tailor

447

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We found over 330,000 family trees with the May surname

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