There are several countries in which this name may have originated, but DNA and research documents indicate our Fay family had roots in the United Kingdom (England).
Fay Name Meaning and History
Two great articles discuss the origin of the Fay name :
More Information and links:
From Where Does The Surname Originate?
(French-Latin) belonging to Fay, Faye (France), or Dweller at a Beech-Tree [Old French fay(e, Lat .fāg-us] (Celtic) 1 for (a) the Irish O'Féich, Descendant of Fiach = Raven [féich, genit. of fiach, a raven] (b) O’Faith = O’Fathaigh. 2 confused with Fee, q.v.
— Surnames of the United Kingdom (1912) by Henry Harrison
De Fae An Anglo-Norman family settled in Westmeath at the end of the twelfth century. Also sometimes a synonym of Fahy and of Fee, q.v. IF 291; MIF 256
— A Guide to Irish Names (1964) by Edward MacLysaght
(English, Irish) One who came from Fay or Faye (beech tree), in France; descendant of the reasonable man; grandson of Fathadh (foundation).
— Dictionary of American Family Names (1956) by Elsdon Coles Smith
(Spanish.) Fe, faith. In Normandy, plantations of beech were called Faye, Fayel, and Fautlaie.
— An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names (1857) by William Arthur
From Fay, Normandy. Reginald du Fai, Geoffry and Ralph de la Faia of Normandy 1180-98 (Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae). Ralph de Faia possessed estates Surrey 1156 (Rot. Pip.), and 1223 the king received the homage of John, son of Ralph de Fai, for a knight’s fee in Surrey, held in capite (Roberts, Excerpta, i. 102). His sisters m. Roger de Clere, and Richard Longespée.
— The Norman People (1874)
From the Danish, Faye, Feigh; from the German, Fay, Fei; a personal name.
— British Family Names: Their Origin and Meaning (1903) by Henry Barber
Fay Family History and Fay Name Meaning
English: nickname for a person believed to have supernatural qualities, from Middle English, Old French faie ‘fairy’ (Late Latin fata ‘fate’, ‘destiny’). English: nickname for a trustworthy person, from Middle English, Old French fei ‘loyalty’, ‘trust’. English (of Norman origin) and French: habitational name from any of various places in France named with Old French faie ‘beech’, or a topographic name from someone living by a beech wood. Compare Lafayette. Irish: variant of Fahey. Irish: variant of Fee.
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press
Last name: Fay
This very interesting surname has three possible origins. The first and most usual, being a locational from a place in France called Fay, meaning 'beech tree'. The name is a slightly later introduction after 1066, it being recorded in the following century. A secondary claim is that the name was a nickname for a person thought to have supernatural qualities, again Olde French, but this time from 'fae' meaning an 'elf or fairy'! We think that more logically when this occurred the development was from a 'role name' i.e. somebody who played the part of a fairy in the medieval travelling theatres. There are a number of recordings which indicate a locational origin such as Richard de Faye in the 1242 Fees Lists of Herefordshire, whilst Margaret le Fey, who is recorded in the 1332 Pipe Rolls of Surrey, was most definitely a fairy. Finally, the name may derive from the Medieval English "fei" meaning "loyalty" and originally given as a nickname to a trustworthy person. Examples of the early church recordings include Jone Phaye, the daughter of Richard Phaye, christened at St. Botolphs without Aldergate, London on November 27th 1597, whilst on March 10th 1681 Mary Fay married James Jackson at London by civil licence. The blazon of the coat of arms granted in County Kildare, Ireland, in 1629, has a green field, a dexter arm issuant from the sinister side of the shield, and a sinister arm from the dexter, vested in silver, grasping a sword erect, the blade thrust through a dragons head couped. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Faia, which was dated 1194, the pipe rolls of the county of Sussex, during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as 'The Lionheart', 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Fay Family History
(William H Fay and John Henry Fay family)
The Willliam H Fay and John H Fay family began in the United States in 1656. The Fay family settled in New England. John Fay was born in England about 1648. He arrived on the Speedwell in Plymouth Rock on June 27 of 1656 after one month at sea. He was only eight years old and traveled without his parents. It is assumed that he traveled to meet with his parents or family, possibly David Fay, who had traveled ahead. He was bound for Massachusetts. First living in Watertown, then Sudbury. He is later found in Marlboro, Massachusetts were he married and where his children were born. Three stories below describe John Fay's arrival to America.
Some information indicates he may have been born in France but his family fled to Wales before coming to America. This information may or may not be true. My DNA indicates I have 2% French lineage but my 54% England, Wales and Northwestern Europe lineage indicates he was probably born in England. My mother's line has two confirmed French lines, probably where my French lineage originated. (The King Phillip War was in 1675...a typo below)
Bos, Carole "Speedwell - The Pilgrims' Ship" AwesomeStories.com.
Oct 07, 2013. Jun 06, 2020.