Knittle, Fay, Weasner & Duggins Genealogy

Meaning and Origin of the

Fay Name and Fay Family



Origins of the Fay Name

There are several countries in which this name may have originated, but my DNA and research documents indicate our Fay family probably had roots in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales) or Germany. 

Fay  Name Meaning and History:

"a person believed to have supernatural qualities"

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.


Origins of the Fay Family

Fay Family History

(William H Fay and John Henry Fay family)


The Willliam H Fay and John H Fay families have not been traced beyond William's birth in Washington DC in the 1840s. It is not clear who his parents were or from where they came. the information below is probably not connected to our family, but I will leave it for now. As we discover more information, we will add or change it. began in the United States in 1656. The Fay family settled in New England. 


gallery/john fay sr full story 1
gallery/fay family hustory john 1
gallery/john fay history
gallery/speedwell passenger list 1656 j fay
gallery/speedwell passenger list 1656 j fay 2

Bos, Carole "Speedwell - The Pilgrims' Ship"

Oct 07, 2013. Jun 06, 2020.


gallery/john fay marriage records