Explore the Family Name Gray

The meaning of Gray

1. English, Scottish, and Irish (especially Eastern Ulster; of Norman origin): habitational name from Graye in Calvados, France, named from the Gallo-Roman personal name Graec(i)us, meaning ‘Greek’ + the locative suffix -acum. This is probably the chief source of the surname in Britain. 2. English: nickname for someone with gray hair or a gray beard, from Middle English grey (Old English grǣg, grēg) ‘gray’. In Ireland it has been used as a translation of various Gaelic surnames derived from riabhach ‘brindled, gray’, including Mac Giolla Riabhaigh; see McGreevy. In North America, this surname has assimilated names with similar meaning from other languages. 3. French: habitational name from Gray in Haute-Saône or Le Gray in Seine-Maritime.

Dictionary of American Family Names, 2nd edition, © Oxford University Press, 2022.

How common is the last name Gray in the United States?

The surname Gray has witnessed minor shifts in popularity according to the Decennial U.S. Census data. In 2000, it was ranked as the 79th most common surname, while in 2010, it dropped to the 87th position, marking a decrease of 10.13%. However, the actual count of people with this surname increased by 3.97% from 236,713 in 2000 to 246,116 in 2010. The proportion of people named Gray per 100k individuals also saw a slight decline of 4.91% over this period.

20002010Change
Rank#79#87-10.13%
Count236,713246,1163.97%
Proportion per 100k87.7583.44-4.91%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Gray

On the matter of ethnic identity, the Decennial U.S. Census data shows changes between 2000 and 2010. The number of Grays identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander rose by 22.73%, those identifying as of two or more races increased by 40.36%, and the Hispanic representation grew by 53.50%, albeit from a lower base. The portion of the White population with the last name Gray saw a small decrease of 3.44%. The percentage of Black individuals with the surname Gray increased slightly by 3.16%. Lastly, those identifying as American Indian and Alaskan Native experienced an increase of 8.33%.

20002010Change
White71.13%68.68%-3.44%
Black24.36%25.13%3.16%
Hispanic1.57%2.41%53.5%
Two or More Races1.66%2.33%40.36%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.84%0.91%8.33%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.44%0.54%22.73%

Gray ancestry composition

23andMe computes an ancestry breakdown for each customer. People may have ancestry from just one population or they may have ancestry from several populations. The most commonly-observed ancestry found in people with the surname Gray is British & Irish, which comprises 52.7% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (21.1%) and Eastern European (3.6%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Nigerian, Italian, Ashkenazi Jewish, and Spanish & Portuguese.

Ready to learn more about your ancestry? Get the most comprehensive ancestry breakdown on the market by taking our DNA test. Shop 23andMe

ANCESTRY BREAKDOWNCOMPOSITION
British & Irish52.7%
French & German21.1%
Eastern European3.6%
Other22.6%
Gray

Possible origins of the surname Gray

Your DNA provides clues about where your recent ancestors may have lived. Having many distant relatives in the same location suggests that you may all share common ancestry there. Locations with many distant relatives can also be places where people have migrated recently, such as large cities. If a large number of individuals who share your surname have distant relatives in a specific area, it could indicate a connection between your surname and that location, stemming from either recent ancestral ties or migration.

Based on 23andMe data, people with last name Gray have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom82.80%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom82.40%
Merseyside, United Kingdom82.40%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom82.30%
West Midlands, United Kingdom81.80%

What Gray haplogroups can tell you

Haplogroups are genetic population groups that share a common ancestor on either your paternal or maternal line. These paternal and maternal haplogroups shed light on your genetic ancestry and help tell the story of your family.

The top paternal haplogroup of people with the surname Gray is R-P311, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-P311 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-CTS241 and R-L21, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Smith, Clark, Brown, White, Wilson, Taylor, Cooper, Johnson, Young, Green.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Gray surname are: H1, T2b, H. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

grayPaternal Haplogroup Origins R-M343

Your maternal lineage may be linked to Marie Antoinette

Because it is so dominant in the general European population, haplogroup H also appears quite frequently in the continent's royal houses. Marie Antoinette, an Austrian Hapsburg who married into the French royal family, inherited the haplogroup from her maternal ancestors. So did Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose recorded genealogy traces his female line to Bavaria. Scientists also discovered that famed 16th century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus traced his maternal lineages to haplogroup H.

Maternal Haplo Image

What do people with the surname Gray have in common?

Spoiler alert: it's complicated. People with the same last name are usually no more genetically similar than a randomly sampled group of people from the same population. That said, people with the same surname are more likely to have similar ancestries than randomly sampled individuals. The reason is the tendency of people with similar cultural or geographical backgrounds to preferentially mate with one another. That's why people who share a surname may be more likely to share traits and tendencies in common than people within the general population. Check out the percentages below to see the prevalences of tastes, habits, and traits of people with your surname compared with prevalences among 23andMe users.

Preferences

Gray

Chocolate Ice Cream

Prefers chocolate flavored ice cream over other flavors.

"Gray" Surname 39.8%

23andMe Users 41.3%

Traits

Gray

Misophonia

When sounds made by others, like the sound of chewing or yawning, provoke strong emotional reactions in an individual.

"Gray" Surname 29.1%

23andMe Users 27.9%

Habits

Gray

Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Gray" Surname 21.9%

23andMe Users 21.1%

Wellness

Gray

Migraine

A severe headache characterized by intense pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and often accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

"Gray" Surname 17.7%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Gray?

The short answer is that, if there is an association between surname and health, it's usually more about your ancestry than your name. Individuals with a given surname are no more genetically similar than the general population but often have similar ancestries. The populations of people associated with those shared ancestries often have sets of genetic variations, also known as alleles, in common. Some of those alleles are associated with a greater likelihood of developing certain diseases.

Disease variant frequency by ancestry

Disease allele frequencies in populations associated with the surname Gray are shown below. Important Note: not everyone with a disease allele will develop these health condition

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Y402H variant

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss among older adults. The disease results in damage to the central part of the retina (the macula), impairing vision needed for reading, driving, or even recognizing faces. The 23andMe Health + Ancestry DNA test includes the two most common variants associated with an increased risk of developing the condition: the Y402H variant in the CFH gene and the A69S variant in the ARMS2 gene. Learn more about Age-Related Macular Degeneration

British & Irish 62.1%

23andMe Users 57.2%