This surname OBRAY was a baptismal name 'the son of Aubry' an ancient personal name. After the Crusades in Europe, in the 11th 12th and 13th century people began, perhaps unconsciously, to feel the need of a family name, or at least a name in addition to the simple one that had been possessed from birth. The nobles and upper classes, especially those who went on the Crusades, observed the prestige and practical value of an added name, and were quick to take a surname. The name is also spelt OBRE, AUBRE, AUBREY, OUBREY and ABREY. Early records of the name mention Walterus filius Alberi, 1086, County Suffolk. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday book. John Albre was documented in County Somerset, in the year 1243. Ralph Aubre was the rector of Antingham, County Norfolk in 1305, and Robertus Aubray appears in 1350, County Lincolnshire. Edward Aubrey was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379, and William Abrey appears in County Lancashire in 1400. John Awbrie and Margaret Welles were married at St. Mary, Aldermary, London in 1576. John Aubrey and Mary Colebrooke were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1771. When the coast of England was invaded by William The Conqueror in the year 1066, the Normans brought with them a store of French personal names, which soon, more or less, entirely replaced the traditional more varied Old English personal names, at least among the upper and middle classes. A century of so later, given names of the principal saints of the Christian church began to be used. It is from these two types of given name that the majority of the English patronymic surnames are derived and used to this day.
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