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About us

We wish to invite anyone with the surname Ray, Rea, Rhea, Wray, or any variant of these surnames to join this project.  Any male can participate who has one of these surnames or is believed to be paternally descended from a man who had one of these surnames.  If you are female, you can have a male relative with one of these surnames submit a sample for your line. Additionally, anyone who is a close Y-DNA match to one or more people with one of the relevant surnames can also participate.  If you are joining this project and your surname is not one of the surnames above or a variant of one of them, please explain which of the above criteria you match.  To participate meaningfully, those who test should be prepared to share their direct male line ancestry back to the earliest known ancestor with one of these surnames, either in the form of a pedigree chart or a family group sheet (excluding living persons).  

Information about the meaning of the surname is from: The Dictionary of American Family Names, edited by Patrick Hank. Oxford University Press, 2005.

1.  English (of Norman origin): nickname denoting someone who behaved in a regal fashion or who had earned the title in some contest of skill or by presiding over festivities, from Old French rey, roy ‘king’. Occasionally this was used as a personal name.

2.  English: nickname for a timid person, from Middle English ray ‘female roe deer’ or northern Middle English ray ‘roebuck’.

3.  English: variant of Rye (1 and 2).

4.  English: habitational name, a variant spelling of Wray.

5.  Scottish: reduced and altered form of McRae.

6.  French: from a noun derivative of Old French - raier ‘to gush, stream, or pour’, hence a topographic name for someone who lived near a spring or rushing stream, or a habitational name from a place called Ray.

7.  Indian: variant of Rai.

8. Spanish: Rey, Hebrew origin

Some of you may have Irish ancestry. According to Edward MacLysaght's Guide to Irish Surnames, Ray may be a corrupt form of Reavey or a variant of Rea or Wray. Rea is a version of MacCrea, Reagh, Reavey and Wray.

If you are researching this line and do not have any living relatives who might want to join this DNA research group, but you are interested in the work that we are doing, you may contribute to this surname project's general fund by clicking the link at the left of this page. Your contribution may be made to help participants of a particular Rea/Ray/Wray line or for a non-specific participant in the Project. Just indicate on the contribution form (under "In Memory of") as to how to apply your contribution. Your contributions will be used to offset the cost of testing for those new participants who make a request through the Group Administrators. If you do not want your name to appear alongside your contribution, please check the "Anonymous" box on the contribution form.

You may also send an email to the Group Administrator indicating your willingness to aid a future participant with a matching funds offer. In that case, you would not make the contribution until a potential participant responded to your offer. We post the matching funds offers under the News tab. If there is a response, the Group Administrators will contact you with further details on how to make your contribution. If you would like to remain anonymous please indicate that in your email.

A free test kit may be available for descendants of Thomas Wray (born 1776, probably in Rockingham County, Virginia, and died 1843 in Gallia County, Ohio). Thomas Wray had fifteen children, eight of them sons. Only the male direct line descendants of Thomas Wray who carry the Wray surname are eligible for this offer. Send an email to dmoneta@cox.net if you think you are eligible.

Thank you for your interest in this project.

Jonathan Blakey, Project Administrator