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Hay Family History

Hay Name Meaning

Scottish and English: topographic name for someone who lived by an enclosure, Middle English hay(e), heye (Old English (ge)hæg, which after the Norman Conquest became confused with the related Old French term haye ‘hedge’, of Germanic origin). Alternatively, it may be a habitational name from any of various places named with this word, including Les Hays and La Haye in Normandy. The Old French and Middle English word was used in particular to denote an enclosed forest. Compare Haywood. This name was taken to Ireland (County Wexford) by the Normans. Scottish and English: nickname for a tall man, from Middle English hay, hey ‘tall’, ‘high’ (Old English heah). Scottish and English: from the medieval personal name Hay, which represented in part the Old English byname Heah ‘tall’, in part a short form of the various compound names with the first element heah ‘high’. French: topographic name from a masculine form of Old French haye ‘hedge’, or a habitational name from Les Hays, Jura, or Le Hay, Seine-Maritime. Spanish: topographic name from haya ‘beech tree’ (ultimately derived from Latin fagus). German: occupational name from Middle High German heie ‘guardian’, ‘custodian’ (see Hayer). Dutch and Frisian: variant of Haye 1.

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

Similar surnames: May, Kay, Bay, Hey, Pay, Ray, Fay, Day, Gay, Say

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Where is the Hay family from?

You can see how Hay families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Hay family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Hay families were found in the USA in 1880. In 1891 there were 730 Hay families living in London. This was about 17% of all the recorded Hay's in the UK. London had the highest population of Hay families in 1891.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Hay surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Hay ancestors do for a living?

In 1939, General Labourer and Unpaid Domestic Duties were the top reported jobs for men and women in the UK named Hay. 11% of Hay men worked as a General Labourer and 65% of Hay women worked as an Unpaid Domestic Duties. Some less common occupations for Americans named Hay were Farmer and Unpaid Domestic.

View Census data for Hay | 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 1939

  • General Labourer
  • Builders Labourer
  • Incapacitated
  • Farmer

Top Female Occupations in 1939

  • Unpaid Domestic Duties
  • Private Means
  • Housewife
  • Unpaid Domestic
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Hay family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 323,000 census records available for the last name Hay. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Hay census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search Australian census records for Hay

Passenger Lists

There are 75,000 immigration records available for the last name Hay. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Australia, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all Hay immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 41,000 military records available for the last name Hay. For the veterans among your Hay 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 Hay family history.

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What is the average Hay lifespan?

Between 1947 and 2004, in the United States, Hay life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1947, and highest in 1999. The average life expectancy for Hay in 1947 was 39, and 75 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Hay

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