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

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

The name Pulley is of Anglo-Saxon origin. It was name for a young buck; it is derived from the Old French word poulain, which meant colt. This nickname would have been given to a person given over to friskiness and possessed of a certain nervous energy in much the same way a young horse is. 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. In the pre-Christian era, many pagan gods and demigods were believed to be a mixture of animals and humans, such as the Greek god Pan who was the god of flocks and herds and was represented as a man with the legs, horns and ears of a goat. In the Middle Ages, anthropomorphic ideas, which attributed human qualities and form to gods or animals, were held about the characters of other living creatures. They were based on the creature's habits. Moreover, these associations were reflected in folk-tales, mythology, and legends which portrayed animals behaving as humans.

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Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Pulley have been found, including Pulleine, Pullen, Pullan, Pulleyn, Pulling and many more.

First found in Yorkshire but one of the earliest record of the name was Robert Pullen (died 1146), an English theologian and official of the Roman Catholic Church. He is generally thought to have been born in Poole, Devonshire and first educated in England. He was Archdeacon of Rochester in 1134, Shortly after this appointment, he went to Paris. There, he taught logic and theology tutoring John of Salisbury, who describes him as a man commended both by his life and his learning in 1141. Back in France, we found that John and Ivo Polain were listed in Normandy (1185-1190.) A few years later nine of the name were listed there in 1198 [1]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pulley research. Another 119 words(8 lines of text) covering the years 1690, 1598 and 1667 are included under the topic Early Pulley History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 59 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pulley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Among the first immigrants of the name Pulley, or a variant listed above to cross the Atlantic and come to North America were:

Pulley Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Richard Pulley, who landed in Maryland in 1660

Pulley Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • John Pulley, who arrived in New England in 1737

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  • Andrew Pulley, American politician
  • Curtis Pulley (b. 1986), former American football quarterback for the Florida A&M University Rattlers, he was the 2004 Kentucky Mr. Football
  • Gerald P. Pulley (1922-2011), American photographer noted for his work with the United States Navy
  • Emily Ann Pulley (b. 1967), American opera soprano who has performed in more than 150 operas
  • Gordon Albert Pulley (b. 1936), English former professional football player
  • Sir Joseph Pulley (1822-1901), 1st Baronet, was an English Liberal politician
  • Charles Thornton Pulley (1864-1947), British Conservative Party politician, Member of Parliament for Ross (1918) and Hereford (1918-1920)


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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: Nulla pallescere culpa
Motto Translation: To turn pale from no crime.

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  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)

Other References

  1. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  2. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  3. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  4. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  5. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  10. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  11. ...

The Pulley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Pulley 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 2 July 2014 at 10:41.

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