Show ContentsBulkley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the name Bulkley date back to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from their residence in any of the places named Buckley, or Buckleigh, in England. Bulkley is a local surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. The name may derive from the Old English "bok lee," meaning meadow, or field. The likely meaning of the name was "clearing in a beech wood" (with boc meaning beech tree and ley meaning wood, glade or clearing). The name could also have been construed from "bucc" meaning a buck or deer; or from the Welsh "bwlch y clai," meaning clay hole. [1]

Early Origins of the Bulkley family

The surname Bulkley was first found in Cheshire where Buckley was an Anglo-Saxon local, with some of its houses later recorded in the Domesday Book. The first documented evidence of its existence dates from 1294 when it was described as the pasturage of the Manor of Ewloe, spelled as "Bokkeley". [2]

Alternatively, the original spelling of the name was Bulclough, meaning "large mountains," and related specifically to a chain of mountains in central Cheshire in England. Whichever derivation, you choose, all point to Cheshire.

"The Buckleys of Cheshire have been for probably 200 years in the parish of Mottram-in-Longdendale. The name is at present best represented on and near the Lancashire border in the vicinity of Manchester, but it is also established in the counties of Derby, Lancashire, Stafford, Worcester, and in the West Riding." [3]

Early English rolls provide us a glimpse of the spelling variations used through Medieval times. Today we typically need to look beyond the spellings of these entries and concentrate on on a phonetic appreciation of the entries. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 include: David de Buckelay, Yorkshire; and Michael de Bokele, Suffolk. The Lay Subsidy Rolls include an entry for Christian de Bukkelegh, Lancashire, 1332. [4]

Early History of the Bulkley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bulkley research. Another 165 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1570, 1537, 1517, 1610, 1524, 1572, 1547, 1571, 1593, 1584, 1593, 1641, 1698, 1583, 1659, 1635, 1568, 1650, 1650 and 1702 are included under the topic Early Bulkley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bulkley Spelling Variations

Bulkley has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Many variations of the name Bulkley have been found, including Buckley, Bucklie, Buckly, Bulkely, Bulkley, Bulkelly, Boukley, Bulkaly, Bulkly, Bulklay and many more.

Early Notables of the Bulkley family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include William Buckley (d. 1570?), an English mathematician, a native of Lichfield, educated at Eton, whence he was elected to a scholarship at King's College, Cambridge, in 1537. Robert or Sigebert Buckley (1517-1610), was a Benedictine monk who was professed at Westminster in Queen Mary's reign. "He was imprisoned on refusing to take the oath of supremacy, and remained in captivity during the whole of Elizabeth's...
Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bulkley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bulkley Ranking

In the United States, the name Bulkley is the 16,605th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [5]

Ireland Migration of the Bulkley family to Ireland

Some of the Bulkley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 198 words (14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Bulkley migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Bulkleys to arrive on North American shores:

Bulkley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edmund Bulkley, who landed in New England in 1635 [6]
  • Grace Bulkley, aged 33, who arrived in New England in 1635 [6]
  • Rev. Peter Bulkley, (1583 - 1659), aged 50, who arrived in New England in 1635 aboard the ship "Susan and Ellin", bound for Cambridge [6]
  • Tho Bulkley, aged 32, who landed in Virginia in 1635 aboard the ship "Plain Joan" [6]
  • Peter Bulkley, who arrived in New England in 1635 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bulkley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Benjamin Bulkley, who arrived in Virginia in 1718 [6]
Bulkley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Bulkley, who landed in Connecticut in 1812 [6]

Canada Bulkley migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bulkley Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Miss Bulkley, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750

Contemporary Notables of the name Bulkley (post 1700) +

  • Alex Bulkley, American animation producer and film director who is the co-founder of the animation studio ShadowMachine. Academy Award winner for Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio (2022), he also directed The Zodiac (2005), which he co-wrote with his brother
  • Ronald Bulkley, American scientist who co-developed Herschel-Bulkley fluid, a generalized model of a non-Newtonian fluid in 1926
  • Bernadine H. Bulkley M.D., American physician, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Robert Johns Bulkley (1880-1965), American Democratic Party politician, United States Senator from Ohio (1930-1939), Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio (1911-1915)
  • Mr. Ranulph Bulkley, British sheriff, held the joint position of Sheriff of Nottingham, England from 1503 to 1504
  • Samuel Bulkley Ruggles (1800-1881), American lawyer and founder of Gramercy Park in NYC
  • Bulkley Emerson, American politician, Postmaster at Bangor, Maine, 1800-01, 1801-06 [7]

The Bulkley Motto +

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: Nec temere nec timide
Motto Translation: Neither rashly nor timidly.

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  4. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. 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)
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook