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

Where did the German Fraley family come from? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Fraley family history?

The surname Fraley belongs to the category of surnames that were derived from nicknames, usually based on a personal or physical characteristic of the initial bearer. In this instance, the name is derived from the Middle High German word "vraelich," which means "happy," or "cheerful." Thus, this surname evolved from a nickname for a merry and cheerful person. For example, Otto von Osterreich, the Duke of Austria in 1331, was nicknamed "der (the) Frohliche."

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Frolich, Frohlich, Frohlck, Frolking, Fraily, Fraley, Frolick, Froelick, Frolicker, Frohlich, Frohlick, Froelig, Froellich, Froellick, Froehlick and many more.

First found in Hessen, where bearers of this surname were an integral part of the early mediaeval Feudal System, that would become the basis of European society. The earliest record of this surname dates back to the thirteenth century, when one Hertwicus dictus Vrolich was recorded in Ingelheim, in the region of Hesse, in 1269. There is also record of a Wyckenendus dictus Frolich, who was a blacksmith in Bodenheim, in 1315.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fraley research. Another 147 words(10 lines of text) covering the years 1650 and 1692 are included under the topic Early Fraley History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 29 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fraley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Fraley Settlers in the 18th Century


  • Alexdr Fraley, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1727
  • Frederick Fraley, who was naturalized in North Carolina in 1766
  • Frederick Fraley, who arrived in North Carolina in 1766
  • John Fraley, whose Oath of Allegiance was recorded in Pennsylvania in 1777
  • John Fraley went to Pennsylvania in 1777

Fraley Settlers in the 19th Century


  • Maria Fraley went to Philadelphia in 1804
  • Jeremiah Fraley, aged 30, landed in New York, NY in 1846
  • Thos. Fraley immigrated to New Orleans in 1850
  • Pat. Fraley, aged 28, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Osceola"
  • Patrick Fraley settled in Fairfield Co. Ohio in 1856


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  • Robert T Fraley, American who received the 1998 National Medal of Technology as part of a team who pioneered achievements in plant biology and agricultural biotechnology, and was Co-President of the agricultural sector
  • Patrick "Pat" Fraley (b. 1949), American voice actor
  • Henry "Hank" F. Fraley (b. 1977), American football offensive lineman
  • Oscar Fraley (1914-1994), American co-author, with Eliot Ness, of the famous American memoir The Untouchables
  • Frederick Fraley (1804-1901), American businessman, politician, and civic leader
  • Bradford Fraley (1878-1942), American Olympic fencer


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  1. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  2. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  4. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  5. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  7. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  8. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  9. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  10. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
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This page was last modified on 17 July 2013 at 11:20.

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