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Lay Family History

Lay Name Meaning

English: variant of Lee. Scottish: reduced variant of McClay. French: habitational name from places so named in Loire, Meurthe-et-Moselle, and Pyrénées-Atlantique. German: habitational name from places so named, in the Rhineland near Koblenz and in Bavaria, named with lay(h), a word meaning ‘stone’, ‘rock’, ‘slate’.

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


Similar surnames: Ley, Hay, Nay, Ray, Say, May, Way, Fay, Kay, Pay

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Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

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Where is the Lay family from?

You can see how Lay families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Lay family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Lay families were found in USA in 1880. In 1840 there were 54 Lay families living in New York. This was about 21% of all the recorded Lay's in USA. New York had the highest population of Lay families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Lay surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Lay ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Farmer and Housekeeper were the top reported jobs for men and women in the USA named Lay. 21% of Lay men worked as a Farmer and 8% of Lay women worked as a Housekeeper. Some less common occupations for Americans named Lay were Miner and Housewife. .

View Census Data for Lay | 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 1940

  • Farmer
    21%
  • Laborer
    17%
  • Salesman
    5%
  • Miner
    4%

Top Female Occupations In 1940

  • Housekeeper
    8%
  • Teacher
    7%
  • Clerk
    6%
  • Housewife
    5%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Lay family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 131,000 census records available for the last name Lay. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Lay census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search US census records for Lay

Passenger Lists

There are 17,000 immigration records available for the last name Lay. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all Lay immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 28,000 military records available for the last name Lay. For the veterans among your Lay ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Lay military records

You've only scratched the surface of Lay family history

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What is the average Lay lifespan?

Between 1941 and 2004, in the United States, Lay life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1952, and highest in 2001. The average life expectancy for Lay in 1941 was 26, and 73 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Lay

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