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May Family History

May Name Meaning

English, French, Danish, Dutch, and German: from a short form of the personal name Matthias (see Matthew) or any of its many cognates, for example Norman French Maheu. English, French, Dutch, and German: from a nickname or personal name taken from the month of May (Middle English, Old French mai, Middle High German meie, from Latin Maius (mensis), from Maia, a minor Roman goddess of fertility). This name was sometimes bestowed on someone born or baptized in the month of May; it was also used to refer to someone of a sunny disposition, or who had some anecdotal connection with the month of May, such as owing a feudal obligation then. English: nickname from Middle English may ‘young man or woman’. Irish (Connacht and Midlands): when not of English origin (see 1–3 above), this is an Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Miadhaigh ‘descendant of Miadhach’, a personal name or byname meaning ‘honorable’, ‘proud’. French: habitational name from any of various places called May or Le May. Jewish (Ashkenazic): habitational name from Mayen, a place in western Germany. Americanized spelling of cognates of 1 in various European languages, for example Swedish Ma(i)j. Chinese : possibly a variant of Mei 1, although this spelling occurs more often for the given name than for the surname.

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


Similar surnames: Hay, Ray, Gay, Kay, Bay, Say, Pay, Fay, Day, Man

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Black & white image of a young woman scientist

Where is the May family from?

You can see how May families moved over time by selecting different census years. The May family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most May families were found in the USA in 1880. In 1840 there were 119 May families living in Pennsylvania. This was about 10% of all the recorded May's in the USA. Pennsylvania had the highest population of May families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the May surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your May ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Farmer and Housekeeper were the top reported jobs for men and women in the US named May. 16% of May men worked as a Farmer and 6% of May women worked as a Housekeeper. Some less common occupations for Americans named May were Truck Driver and Maid.

View Census data for May | 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
    16%
  • Laborer
    14%
  • Salesman
    5%
  • Truck Driver
    3%

Top Female Occupations in 1940

  • Housekeeper
    6%
  • Housewife
    6%
  • Teacher
    5%
  • Maid
    5%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What May family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 1 million census records available for the last name May. Like a window into their day-to-day life, May census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search US census records for May

Passenger Lists

There are 107,000 immigration records available for the last name May. 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 May immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 514,000 military records available for the last name May. For the veterans among your May 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 May family history.

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What is the average May lifespan?

Between 1941 and 2004, in the United States, May life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1944, and highest in 1999. The average life expectancy for May in 1941 was 35, and 75 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for May

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