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


The history of the Acley family goes back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It is derived from the family living in a clearing surrounded by oak trees. The surname Acley literally means oak-meadow. [1] The surname Acley is associated with the village of Acle in Norfolk, and the village of Akeley in Buckinghamshire.

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The surname Acley was first found in Norfolk or Buckinghamshire. Of the two locations, Akeley (Akely) in Buckinghamshire seems to be the strongest place of origin for the surname. Located "in the union, hundred, and county of Buckingham, 2 miles (N. by E.) from the town of Buckingham," [2] Akeley has remained small over the years as by the late 1800s, it only had a population of 362. [2] However, the parish dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was first listed as Achelei. [3] Some of the family were found in Whitworth, Durham in early years. "According to the Boldon book, this manor was held by Thomas de Acley, by the service of a quarter of a knight's fee." [2]

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Acley include Ackley, Acley, Acle, Ackle, Aclie, Acklie, Acly and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Acley research. Another 589 words (42 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1273, 1500, 1610 and 1769 are included under the topic Early Acley History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Acley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Acley or a variant listed above:

Acley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • James Acley went to Virginia in 1703
  • James Acley, who arrived in Virginia in 1703

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  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)

Other References

  1. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  3. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  4. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  6. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  7. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  9. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  10. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  11. ...

The Acley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Acley 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 March 2016 at 09:29.

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