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

Origins Available: English, Irish

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

Early is a name whose history is entwined with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It was a name for a male who was of manly character. The surname Early originally derived from the Old English word Eorlic which referred to one who displayed manly characteristics. The surname Early belongs to a broad and miscellaneous class of surnames. Nickname surnames referred to a characteristic of the first person who used the name. They can describe the bearer's favored style of clothing, appearance, habits, or character. Often nicknames described strong traits or attributes that people wished to emulate in a specific animal.

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Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Early were recorded, including Early, Erlegh, Erlee, Erly, Earley, Erle, Erley, Arlie and many more.

First found in Somerset where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Early research. Another 332 words(24 lines of text) covering the year 1273 is included under the topic Early Early History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Early Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Early family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 130 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Early family emigrate to North America:

Early Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Robert Early who settled in New England in 1633
  • Robert Early, who arrived in America in 1634

Early Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Thomas Early who settled in North Carolina in 1700
  • Thomas Early, who landed in North Carolina in 1701
  • Jeremia Early, who arrived in Virginia in 1704
  • Jacob Early, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1761

Early Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • John Early, who landed in America in 1804
  • Catherine Early, who arrived in Baltimore in 1829
  • Michael Early, who landed in New York in 1833
  • William Early, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1834
  • Patrick Early, aged 30, landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1834


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  • Burd Early, American rock artist
  • James M Early, American engineer, best known for his work on transistors, eponym of the Early Effect
  • Joseph Daniel Early (b. 1933), American politician, U.S. House of Representatives for Massachusetts from 1975 to 1993
  • Gerald Early (b. 1952), American author
  • Delloreese Patricia Early (b. 1931), birth name of Della Reese, American Golden Globe Award, Primetime Emmy Award multiple Grammy Award nominated actress, singer, and ordained minister
  • Jubal Anderson Early (1816-1894), Confederate general in the American Civil War


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  • Descendants of John Early Virginia (1729-1774) by Margaret Woods Hampton.
  • The Early Families of Knox and Whitley Counties, Kentucky, with Allied Families by Cleland Edward Early.
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  1. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  3. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  4. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  5. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  6. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  8. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  9. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  10. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  11. ...

The Early Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Early 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 26 September 2013 at 14:16.

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