The GRAY/GREY One-Name Study – what is it?

The GRAY and GREY names are often interchangeable when researching families. There are numerous reasons for this. Sometimes this is due to miss-transcribing of hand-written records, sometimes because the person writing the record has used what he believes should be the spelling and sometimes because the family wanted to. There will be other variants – for example there are the “de Gray” and “de Grey” families and some with the Graye name.

A One-Name Study (ONS) looks at the name world-wide. This can be seen as next to impossible since access to most of the world’s data is either impossible, or very difficult. However, there is significant data available for countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA). With the origins of the GRAY/GREY name believed to be from Northern Europe, and most of the current people with that name being in the above countries, this is not as bad as it would first seem. That said, there is an additional problem associated with the quantity of data.

When seeking to understand the GRAY and GREY families world-wide, one is immediately aware of the size of the task. For example there were 60,000 people with the name GRAY recorded in the 1880 census of the USA, and 43,000 in the 1881 census of the UK . However, all journeys comprise one step at a time and so this study is just as interested in a single family in Albany (New York state, USA), or in York (Yorkshire, England), as it is looking at such as the movement of families from rural to the industrial centres in the late 19th Century, or emigration to Australasia.

So – this site looks at individual families as well as the “big picture”.

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