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

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

The ancestors of the name Oakley date back to the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Oakley family lived in one of the various settlements named Oakley throughout England, or in Oakley Street in Gloucestershire, Oakleigh in Kent, or Ockley in Surrey. The surname Oakley belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.


It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Oakley are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Oakley include: Oakley, Oakeley, Oakly, Okly, Ockley and others.

First found in Shropshire where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the census rolls taken by the ancient Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Oakley research. Another 145 words(10 lines of text) covering the years 1500, 1660, 1653, 1624, 1635, 1695, 1659, 1660, 1678 and 1720 are included under the topic Early Oakley History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 119 words(8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Oakley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Oakley or a variant listed above:

Oakley Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • George Oakley, who came to Virginia in 1654
  • Francis Oakley, who arrived in Barbados in 1669
  • John Oakley, who arrived in Maryland in 1670

Oakley Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Alice Oakley, who settled in Virginia in 1729

Oakley Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Oakley, aged 43, landed in Maryland in 1812
  • George Oakley, who arrived in New York in 1846
  • B Oakley, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Henry Oakley, aged 19, landed in New York in 1854
  • William Oakley, aged 30, arrived in New York, NY in 1855


  • Annie Oakley (1860-1926), born Phoebe Orlando Ann Mosey, American sharpshooter and exhibition shooter, star of Buffalo Bill's Wild West
  • Anthony Oakley (b. 1981), American professional football player
  • Francis Christopher Oakley (b. 1931), English-American educator and historian
  • Thomas Jackson Oakley (1783-1857), American politician, U.S. Representative from New York (1813-15, 1827-28) and superior court judge in New York (1828-47)
  • Laura Oakley (1879-1957), American actress
  • Robert Bigger Oakley (b. 1934), American Foreign Service officer, U.S. Ambassador to Zaire (1979-82), Somalia (1982) and Pakistan (1988-91)
  • Berry Oakley (1948-1972), American musician, member of The Allman Brothers Band
  • Bill Oakley (b. 1966), American television writer, best known for his work on The Simpsons
  • David Oakley (1945-2006), American professional golfer
  • Peter H. Oakley (b. 1949), American professional PGA golfer



  • The Descendants of William & Mary Simms: England To Illinois and Beyond by Vivian York Simms.

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: Non timeo sed caveo
Motto Translation: I do not fear, but am careful.


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  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  3. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  4. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  5. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  6. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  9. 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.
  10. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  11. ...

The Oakley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Oakley 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 24 August 2014.

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