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Wray Family History

Wray Name Meaning

English (northern):: from Middle English wra (Old Norse vrá) ‘nook corner of land’ a topographic name for someone who lived at or by a nook corner of land or isolated place or a habitational name from a place so named such as Wray in Tunstall (Lancashire) Wrea in Kirkham (Lancashire) and High and Low Wreah in Hensingham (Cumberland). The name was taken to Ulster by a Yorkshire family in the reign of Elizabeth I and was used interchangeably in the counties of Derry and Donegal with Raw Ray Rea and occasionally McRae . common post-medieval spelling of Ray Rae or Ree . in Devon a variant of Wrey either a habitational name from Wray Barton (Devon) which takes its name from the river Wray which probably derives from Old English wearg ‘felon’ + ēa ‘water’ perhaps referring to a stream where felons were executed by drowning. Alternatively perhaps a nickname meaning ‘the twisted crooked one’ from Middle English wry(e) ‘awry’ a derivative of Old English wrīgian ‘to turn’.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, 2022

Similar surnames: Way, Ray, Bray, Gray, Pray, Irby, Fray, Dray, Wear, Gay

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Where is the Wray family from?

You can see how Wray families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Wray family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Wray families were found in United Kingdom in 1891. In 1840 there were 35 Wray families living in Pennsylvania. This was about 25% of all the recorded Wray's in USA. Pennsylvania had the highest population of Wray families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Wray surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Wray ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Farmer and Maid were the top reported jobs for men and women in the USA named Wray. 18% of Wray men worked as a Farmer and 8% of Wray women worked as a Maid. Some less common occupations for Americans named Wray were Carpenter and Teacher. .

View Census Data for Wray | 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
  • Laborer
  • Salesman
  • Carpenter

Top Female Occupations In 1940

  • Maid
  • Housewife
  • Stenographer
  • Teacher
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What Wray family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 155,000 census records available for the last name Wray. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Wray census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

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Passenger Lists

There are 14,000 immigration records available for the last name Wray. 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.

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Draft Cards

There are 20,000 military records available for the last name Wray. For the veterans among your Wray ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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What is the average Wray lifespan?

Between 1941 and 2004, in the United States, Wray life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1941, and highest in 1998. The average life expectancy for Wray in 1941 was 23, and 74 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Wray

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