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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Stanley family come from? What is the English Stanley family crest and coat of arms? When did the Stanley family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Stanley family history?

The lineage of the name Stanley begins with the Anglo-Saxon tribes in Britain. It is a result of when they lived in the county of Cumberland in an area that was defined by the Old English word stanley which means astony clearing or stony field. Stanley is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. During the Middle Ages, as society became more complex, individuals needed a way to be distinguishable from others. Toponymic surnames were developed as a result of this need. Various features in the landscape or area were used to distinguish people from one another. In this case the original bearers of the surname Stanley were named due to their close proximity to the stanley.

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Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Stanley has undergone many spelling variations, including Stanley, Standley, Stanleigh, Stoneley and others.

First found in Cambridgeshire at Stonely (Stoneley,) a hamlet near Kimbolton and home to Stoneley Priory which was established in 1180 and dissolved in 1536. By the time of the Conquest, there were listings of the name in the Domesday Book [1] including: Stanlei in Derbyshire and West Yorkshire; Stanlee in Gloucestershire; and Stanlei (now Stoneleigh) in Warwickshire. The place name literally means "stony wood clearing." [2]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Stanley research. Another 237 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1100, 1442, 1350, 1414, 1435, 1504, 1485, 1460, 1503, 1506, 1597, 1672, 1660, 1531, 1593, 1586, 1599, 1664, 1625, 1678, 1628, 1672, 1655, 1702, 1670, 1714, 1695, 1698 and are included under the topic Early Stanley History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 341 words(24 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Stanley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Stanley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 111 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Stanley were among those contributors:

Stanley Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Roger Stanley settled in Virginia in 1620
  • Roger Stanley, who landed in Virginia in 1620
  • Morris Stanley, who landed in Virginia in 1624
  • John Stanley, who landed in Hartford, Conn in 1634-1635
  • Thomas Stanley settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1634


Stanley Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Joseph and his wife Elizabeth Stanley settled in Georgia in 1732
  • Joseph Stanley, who landed in Georgia in 1738
  • Sarah Stanley, who landed in Maryland in 1740
  • David Stanley, who arrived in North Carolina in 1748
  • James Stanley, who landed in America in 1764

Stanley Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Wm Stanley, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811
  • Peter Stanley, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816
  • Edward F Stanley, who arrived in New York, NY in 1835
  • Stephen J Stanley, who landed in Texas in 1835
  • G I Stanley, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850


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  • Wendell Meredith Stanley (1904-1971), American biochemist, who shared a 1946 Nobel Prize
  • George Stanley (1875-1951), American actor
  • Ralph Stanley (b. 1927), influential American bluegrass musician
  • Kim Stanley (1925-2001), Emmy and Academy award winning American actress
  • Francis Edgar Stanley (1849-1918), American co-founder of The Stanley Motor Carriage Company with his twin brother Freelan O. Stanley (1849-1940) in 1902, best known for their Stanley Steamer vehicles and as founders of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado which provided inspiration for Stephen King's The Shinning
  • David S. Stanley (1828-1902), Union general in the American Civil War and Medal of Honor recipient
  • Sir Henry Morton Stanley GCB (1841-1904), Welsh-born, American journalist and explorer who searched for Dr. Livingstone and allegedly uttered the famous greeting, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"
  • Richard Peter Stanley (b. 1944), American mathematician awarded the Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition in 2001
  • Edward George Villiers Stanley (1865-1948), 17th Earl of Derby, English politician
  • Frederick Arthur Stanley KG, GCB, GCVO, PC (1841-1908), 16th Earl of Derby, the sixth Governor General of Canada (1888 to 1893), eponym of the Stanley Cup

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  • Sands Stanley of the Pee Dee Valley by Haywood A. Stanley.
  • Stanley Families of America by Harold S. Langland.
  • Whither Though Goest: a Story of the Stanley Family in Virginia, North Carolina, Kansas and Oklahoma by Elnora Stanley Flahery.
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Sans changer
Motto Translation: Without changing.

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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  3. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  4. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  5. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  6. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  7. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  8. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  9. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  11. ...

The Stanley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Stanley Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 6 June 2014 at 12:34.

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