A Scottish and French surname, Hay comes from the Old French term ‘hedge’ which meant a forest. There is also the Middle English terms ‘hay’ and ‘hey’ which mean tall. Variations in spelling Hay include Haye, Haya and MacGeraidh. The original Hay families were from Perthshire in Scotland. In England the Hay surname is all across the country and into Wales. The higher populations of individuals with the Hay surname are in Northumberland, Durham, Yorkshire and Lancashire counties. Scotland has a high population of Hay families, many living in Lanarkshire, Midlothian and Aberdeenshire counties. Within the United States the Hay families are found mostly in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Tennessee, Illinois, New York, Washington, California, Texas and Iowa. Famous: Garry Hay (professional footballer from Scotland), Cody Hay (a professional figure skater from Canada), Erin Hay (a country music singer), Will Hay (a comic actor from England), Denys Hay (a renown English historian), Merle David Hay (the first American soldier to die during battle in World War I), Robert Hay (a 19th century furniture manufacturer from Canada), Colin Hay (a Scottish musician) and Andrew L. Hay (a 19th century Scottish writer).