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

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

The ancestors of the Ely family migrated to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The surname Ely is based on Fitz Elie, the name of a distinguished Norman family who came to England in 1066 with William the Conqueror's invasion.

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Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Ely include Ely, Elie, Ealy and others.

First found in Cambridgeshire where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ely research. Another 211 words(15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ely History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Ely family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 134 words(10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Elys to arrive on North American shores:

Ely Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Mr. Ely, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620
  • Walter Ely settled in Virginia in 1621
  • Elzabeth Ely, who landed in Virginia in 1622
  • Mrs. Ely, who arrived in Virginia in 1623
  • Elizabeth Ely who settled in Virginia in 1623


Ely Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Jane Ely, who landed in Virginia in 1711
  • Hans David Ely, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732
  • Christien Ely, aged 49, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732
  • David Ely, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1754

Ely Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • F Ely, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1803
  • G E Ely, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • H C Ely, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • H G Ely, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Mrs. C Ely, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851

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  • John Ely (1816-1869), American Civil War General
  • John Hart Ely (1938-2003), American jurist
  • Richard Theodore Ely (1854-1943), American economist
  • Melvin Anderson Ely (b. 1978), American professional basketball player from Harvey, Illinois
  • Ron Ely (b. 1938), stage name of Ronald Pierce, American film actor, best known for having portrayed Tarzan in the 1966 NBC series Tarzan
  • Eugene Burton Ely (1886-1911), American aviation pioneer, credited with the first shipboard aircraft take off and landing
  • Janet Ely (b. 1953), American gold and silver medalist diver
  • John Ely (1774-1849), US Congressman serving from 1839 to 1841
  • Smith Ely Jr. (1825-1911), Mayor of New York City
  • General Paul-Henri-Romuald Ely (1897-1975), French Chief of National Defence Staff (1959-1961)


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  • Descendants of William Ely and Richard Ely: Sons of Richard Ely, 1610-1685: With Some Account of the Elys of Wonston by Moses S. Beach.
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  1. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  2. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  3. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  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. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  8. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  10. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  11. ...

The Ely Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Ely 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 22 May 2014 at 14:29.

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