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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The ancient Anglo-Saxon culture once found in Britain is the soil from which the many generations of the Gailey family have grown. The name Gailey was given to a member of the family who was a person who was known for their cheerful personality and their jovial disposition. The surname Gailey was originally derived form the Old English word gal, which described a person as being pleasant and merry.

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The surname Gailey was first found in Cornwall where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Gailey family name include Gale, Gail, Gaile, Gales and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gailey research. Another 171 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1534, 1546, 1628, 1678, 1635, 1702, 1671, 1701, 1680, 1721, 1647, 1721, 1670 and 1735 are included under the topic Early Gailey History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 159 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gailey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Gailey surname or a spelling variation of the name include : John Gale who settled in New England in 1656; another John settled in Virginia in 1623 with his wife Mary; Richard Gale settled in Barbados in 1635; John Gale settled in Barbados in 1685.

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  • Francis "Frank" Gailey (1882-1972), American three-time silver medalist freestyle swimmer at the 1904 Summer Olympics
  • Thomas Chandler Gailey Jr. (b. 1952), American NFL professional and college football coach
  • Major-General Charles Kenon Gailey Jr. (1901-1966), American Chief of the Office of Civil Affairs, Department of the Army (1959)
  • Thomas Chandler Gailey, American politician, Mayor of Americus, Georgia, 1991-93
  • Mark Gailey, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Kentucky 6th District, 2002, 2004
  • Doug Gailey (d. 2007), New Zealand former rugby league player


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  1. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  2. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  3. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  4. 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.
  5. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  6. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  7. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  8. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  9. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  10. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 13 January 2016 at 14:21.

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