Wray-ethnicity-Scandinavian or Norman or what? Name is old Norse

+4 votes
1.7k views
Searching for roots. Celtic, Norman, Scandinavian, French, Danish? Wray is old Norse origin. A lot of place  names in Lancashire and York also Cumbria have Wrays. I'm sure someone knows the answer to this. My Grandfather Wray had light hair and blue eyes. He was a dentist here in America. Very smart and conservative. Very pale skin also. As far as I know (but not sure) he came from England. I can trace back to Andrew Wray sr in 1700s Virginia. One Wray family claimed Norman heritage coming over with William the Conqueror invasion. Any help you can give I know we're R1b1a2.
in Genealogy Help by Anita Wray-White G2G Crew (370 points)
retagged by Keith Hathaway

1 Answer

+1 vote
Your male line is such a small part of your ancestry.  Go back 20 generations, say 1400, you have a million ancestors, and only one of them was a Wray.  So you can't assume your grandfather's eyes and hair came from him.

Actually it's overwhelmingly likely that you inherit no genes at all from that Wray of 1400.  You only have 30,000 genes, and a million into 30,000 doesn't go.

It would be different if England were divided into separate ethnic communities which married only amongst themselves.  If you find a Jewish ancestor, you'll have lots of Jewish ancestors.  But England was never like that.  Apart from Jews, to some extent, all invaders and immigrants have intermingled and intermarried, as in the U.S.  So a man's surname was never much of a clue to the origins of his wife and mother.

That 1400 guy was probably called del Wraa, or something like that.  Almost certainly his ancestor who adopted that surname was the tenant of a hill-farm called "the wraa" locally.  There will have been a number of farms called that, scattered around the north of England, and several unrelated tenants who independently took the name as a surname.

Nothing can be said at all about the origins of those tenants.  It can't be supposed that they were Vikings just because the word itself is Norse.

Basically English is English. They were already all mixed up long before most people had surnames.

Lots of families have a Norman knight story, but few if any are true.
by RJ Horace G2G6 Pilot (565k points)
edited by RJ Horace
I agree completely with RJ Horace.

I agree also with the idea that Wray is almost certainly of Scandinavian origin; it is cited by most , including the English place-name society based at Nottingham University as originally derived from Old Norse meaning 'Remote Place'.

Given the number of places that the Danes settled along the east coast that were then relatively remote and where the Norse landed on the west coast (which were arguably even more remote) there is no shortage of places bearing this name. Which infers that the surname may have arisen in multiple locations and been borne by entirely unrelated people.

As for genetic inheritance of physical characteristics, these may have come from anywhere. The English with a long history of settlement in the south and east of the country tend to show a genetic legacy that stems back to the migrations from the two more north-eastern European refuges from the ice during the last glacial maximum; whereas in the west there tends to be a higher proportion of those from the more south-western refuge in the shadows of the Pyrenees. The migrants from the two NE refuges came to these shores (before they were shores!) by way of two key routes; the northern route through the whole length of Scandinavia and across to Scotland and England. Some of these settled in Scandinavia, and followed nine thousand years later as Vikings.

The second route was via the north German Plains, perhaps even to the Low Countries before coming in to SE England. They too saw people settling along the route, and descendants of these settlers too were to arrive in the guise of the Anglo-Saxons. Some of the Norse arrived much later in Northern France and came to us as Normans. With over 10,000 years of genetic mixing, I defy anyone to precisely separate the English and Anglos-Saxons from the Vikings and Normans.

you are SOOO wrong... GENES CAN SKIP AS GENERATIONS AS THEY WANNA! That is why they have so-called RESESSIVE GENE[tics]s]! 

or not WHY but it it "part of the "equation""  so... Well, no matter wut TRUTH LIES HERE http://www.adversity.net/FRAMES/Editorials/54_Paler_Shade_of_Black.htm n thas it, WE ALL JUS LIGHTER SHADES OF BLACK!

I used to BELIEVE in the same ish, that we ALL DIFF but SIMILAR but the only DIFFERENCE is in HAIR TEXTURE [which CAN APPEAR IN SO-CALLED WHITES jus as BLACKS w/ the ROUGHER texture hair n EVEN the SKIN TEXTURE!!! my skin is ROUGH AS SHEOL N I AM only like 20 percent AFRICAN descent if that much [[between 15-20%] so yea,, my skin is DRYYYY n ASHY ALL YEAR ROUND not to mention the facial features, broad nose n nostrils, big FULL lips, but LIGHT BLUR-GREEN eyes that change color... my hair is ROUGH @ the roots @ "FLOWING: after, but MY SCALP.. DRY AS MOST AFRICANS!!"} 

So wut I'm sayen is THERE IS NO RACE!! 

WE ALL JUS DIFFERENT [DARK to LIGHTER on the spectrum, makes NO DIFFERENCE but CULTURE! sum so called WHITEs well MOST lol,DECIDE [even UNKNOWING

/WITTINGLY] to jus GO WIT THE FLOW lol... so yea I'ma LEAVE IT UP TO YALL N JUS CHILL!! 

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