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REA Family HistoryThis is a surname with one of the most ancient origins. It derives from an Olde British word 'ea' pronounced 'ay' and describes someone who lived by a stream. More pragmatically it probably referred to somebody who lived on dry land by a stream, since before the days of land drainage to find 'dry land' was vital. It is true that some nameholders particularly those who originate in the Sussex - Kent region of England, may derive from the town of Rye, which means what it says - 'the place where corn was grown'.
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