Ceilley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
Cornwall, one of the original six "Celtic nations" is the homeland to the surname Ceilley. A revival of the Cornish language which began in the 9th century AD has begun. No doubt this was the language spoken by distant forebears of the Ceilley family. Though surnames became common during medieval times, English people were formerly known only by a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames were adopted in medieval England is fascinating. Many Cornish surnames appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames. The name Ceilley is a local type of surname and the Ceilley family lived happy person who had good fortune. It is derive from the Old English word saelig, meaning happy and blessed. 
Early listings of the name was typically seen a "sely" and "seli" and was referenced at least twice in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales:
"For sely is that deth, soth for to seyne, That, ofte y- cleped, com'th and endeth peyne"; and
"That Nicholas shal shapen hym a wyle This sely, jalous housbonde to bigyle."
Early Origins of the Ceilley family
The surname Ceilley was first found in Somerset where the first listings of name were found as a personal name: Sely atte Bergh; Sely Percy; and Sely Scury. All were found in Kirby's Quest temp. 1 Edward III (during the first year's reign of King Edward III.  The one exception of the aforementioned was William Sely.
The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 has some interesting entries too: William Sely in Oxfordshire; Egidius Sely in Norfolk; and John Sely in Gloucestershire. 
Early History of the Ceilley family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ceilley research. Another 131 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1618, 1621, 1760, 1602, 1668 and 1630 are included under the topic Early Ceilley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Ceilley Spelling Variations
Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Cely, Ceeley, Celey, Ceely, Ceiley, Seely, Seeley and others.
Early Notables of the Ceilley family (pre 1700)
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ceilley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Ceilley family
An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Ceilley or a variant listed above: Robert Seely, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1630 with the Winthrop Fleet; William Seely, who came to Barbados in 1635; John Seely, who came to Virginia in 1654.
Related Stories +
- ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
- ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)