In the Oxford Dictionary of Surnamesthe surname Gay is said to be of at least three derivations: from an English personal name meaning light-hearted or cheerful, from a Norman French locative, or place name, and from a Catalan medieval name derived from the Latin given name Gaius—the first given name, as a matter of fact, of Julius Caesar. The OED shows it being used by Chaucer with something like the modern connotations, including the homosexual stereotyping. I think the true answer straddles this question.
Son of Henry Gay, Jr. Thomas Gay and Patience his wife of Northampton, North Carolina sold 50 acres of land to Robert Babb of Isle of Wight County, Virginia for 20 pounds VA; land on the northside of the main road in the Fork of the head of the western branch of Nansemond in the county of Isle of Wight, near the county line being part of a tract of one hundred and fifty acres of land belonging to Henry Gay and given from him unto his son Thomas Gay by will and from Thomas Gay unto his son Jethro Gay by will, and from Jethro Gay by inheritance unto his brother Thomas Gay and Patience his wife, which land is Bounded as followeth. People Projects Discussions Surnames.
Son of Henry Gay, Sr. Henry Gay also stands indebted to Lewis Brian and promises to pay in tobacco. People Projects Discussions Surnames.
He died on November 28, in Edgecombe Co. There may also have been a son Henry Gay IV. This acre plantation on Kerby Creek was sold by John Gay in
They located later in Kent and Devon. The Gays were shown in the Visitations of Kent in There was a vast trade in headrights.
Most surnames evolved from four general sources: occupation, location, patronymic one's father's name and characteristic. The name GAY is believed to be locational and charactistic in origin. It seems to be associated with the English, meaning, "dweller near Gaye in Normandy and one who is light-hearted or cheerful in spirit. However, there may be other meanings as well.