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Our 2,768 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

How did it all start, that in its self is a study of its own but put simply, it was not able to find the origins of Samuel Mingay, the patriarch of my branch of the family. After a very easy beginning of assembling the family tree, or rather my branch, a brick wall came out of nowhere and stopped further progress. So started the 'circular sweep' around the parish of (Beccles, Suffolk) at which the line had been lost, the circle got larger, until other data was encountered but not seemily associated with my branch. After many years enough data had been accumulated to enable me to join the Guild, registering the name of MINGAY as my study.

Variant names

Whilst the variants Mingy, Mingey, Mingaye and Minghi have been registered it is now believed that they are spelling inconsistencies or phoentic spelling by various writers of the past and hence are all one family name. It is noted that , particularly in USA that Minge or Minga may well be other variants. Whereas the name Mingo is not part of the Mingay group even though the IGI 'soundex system' combine both.

Name origin

It is believed that Mingay is of Breton, France origin; certainly Reaneys 'Origin of Surnames' indicates this to be so, quoting ...Mingay, a Breton, under tenant, in 1083....Yeldham, Essex, England, said to be extracted from the Doomsday Book. Supporting this are many examples similar names still existing in that area with a history of equal or longer length.

Historical occurrences of the name

In 1327 Waryn Mingay was one of the jurors at at an inquest in London and his Will dated 1328 are the first found (so far) recordings of the name.

During the sixteenth & seventeenth centuries many members of the family held offical offices within the city of Norwich, Norfolk, England.

Of those rising to prominence later are James Mingaye, K.C., being a notable3 Judge of the assizes, during the 1780's and his nephew William James Mingay who became an Admiral of thee Royal Navy around 1852.

Name frequency

There are 446 entries of the Mingay name and its variants in the 1881 Census (aprroximately 0.002% of the population) which puts the name into the 'rare Class' (it has been stated that an occurrence of 300 or less is Very Rare). An ONS database gives the number of Mingays as 541 and is ranked as 10,691 in the Country in 2002, note 48 more people had the variant Mingaye, ranking them as 52,114 (very rare).

Distribution of the name

East Anglia was and still is the 'home' area for the name Mingay but with off shoots in London. The county of Suffolk has the highest density, closely followed by Cambridgeshire & Norfolk with Essex having the lowest. As the years progressed families spread out far and wide from this region, so that there are or have been representatives of the family in Canada, USA, (one in South America), Australia, South Africa and even New Zealand. The only known Asian associatipon was in the marriage of William James Mingay, later to have the rank of Admiral, RN.


Most of the entries of the Mingay name in the Births, Marriages & Deaths from the General Register Offices (currently covering 1837 to 1950)have pbtained; it is hoped to complete the total extraction soon.

Extracts of Wills have been made, mostly by other Mingay researchers other than me, no doubt there are still some to found.

The database also contains thousands of the entries gleaned from the Parish Registers of the UK, with some from the Americas. In addition there are the entries from the Census Returns (1841 - 1901) being added on a daily basis, one lonely piece from the 1821 Census, again Censuses from North America figure prominently.

This One Name Study owes much too past researchers such as, James Arthur Mingay, Trevor Herve and Walter John Mingay (Jack to many), sadly they are no longer with us to see how much more has been added.