I have information on the Fray surname from research done in Europe. I have copies of a textbook I found in Guebviller, France at a family history center on the Fray surname. There are two basic origins of the name, English and French. During the late middle ages (1350-1500) in the area of Switzerland and Alsace as serfs would obtain freedom they would become known as "free" spelled frei and pronounced "fray". The reformation separated the protestant and catholic descendants between Germanic and Alsatian branches. The larger Germanic protestant branch became pronounced as FRY spelled "Frey" by 1500. The Catholic branch in Alsace spelled Frey but pronounced Fray. When immigrants to England and America from Alsace pronounced their names to immigration agents it was mispelled as Fray. In some cases immigrants chose the anglicanized spelling "Fray" intentially. The branches of the Fray family in the new world seem to be from four distinct different groups. The earliest immigration was to Jamaica from UK (c.1700). Subsequent families are grouped in Virginia (UK c.1790); PA (c.late 18th century); MO from Alsace (c. 1800); and CA/CO (1850-1890)Alsatian. These groups seem to not have any direct connection.
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