Folley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Folley comes from the ancient Norman culture that was established in Britain after the Conquest of 1066. It was a name for a free-spirited or eccentric person. Further research showed the name was derived from the Latin word follis which formerly referred to anything filled with air, but which later took on metaphorical connotations of empty-headedness and vanity. [1]

Early Origins of the Folley family

The surname Folley was first found in Northamptonshire where they held a family seat from early times, and granted the lands by William the Conqueror for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. The family originated in Cotentin in western Normandy, and Sampson Foliot was the Seigneur, or Lord, of Montfarville, near Cherbourg. [2]

Early History of the Folley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Folley research. Another 123 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1100, 1599, 1147, 1691, 1762, 1568, 1622, 1603, 1613, 1613, 1697, 1716, 1695, 1697, 1660, 1697, 1692, 1693, 1667, 1701, 1692, 1693, 1655, 1699, 1696, 1765, 1730, 1760 and 1761 are included under the topic Early Folley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Folley Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Folliot, Foliot, Folliott, Ffolliott and others.

Early Notables of the Folley family (pre 1700)

Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Folley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Folley family to Ireland

Some of the Folley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 185 words (13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Folley migration to the United States

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Folley or a variant listed above were:

Folley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Folley, who landed in Virginia in 1701 [3]
  • Peter Folley, who arrived in New York in 1709 [3]
  • Jeremiah Folley, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1765 [3]
Folley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Folley, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1876 [3]

Folley migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Folley Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Folley, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1815

Folley migration to Australia

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Folley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Richard Folley, (b. 1819), aged 23, Cornish labourer travelling aboard the ship "Himalaya" arriving in Port Phillip, New South Wales, Australia on 26th February 1842 [4]
  • Mr. Richard Folley, (b. 1819), aged 23, Cornish labourer departing from Plymouth in October 1841 aboard the ship "Himalaya" arriving in Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia on 26th February 1842 [5]

Folley migration to New Zealand

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Folley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Folley, aged 21, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alma" in 1857


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, May 30). Ships' Passenger Lists of Arrivals in New South Wales on (1828 - 1842, 1848 - 1849) [PDF]. Retrieved from
  5. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from
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