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


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The surname Chesley was first found in Caldyrstarrs, 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.

Prior to the first dictionaries, scribes spelled words according to sound. This, and the fact that Scottish names were repeatedly translated from Gaelic to English and back, contributed to the enormous number of spelling variations in Scottish names. Chesley has been spelled Chiesley, Chesley, Chesly, Cheysly, Cheisley, Cheislie and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Chesley research. Another 141 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1682, 1689, and 1745 are included under the topic Early Chesley History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 40 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Chesley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In such difficult times, the difficulties of raising the money to cross the Atlantic to North America did not seem so large compared to the problems of keeping a family together in Scotland. It was a journey well worth the cost, since it was rewarded with land and freedom the Scots could not find at home. The American War of Independence solidified that freedom, and many of those settlers went on to play important parts in the forging of a great nation. Among them:

Chesley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Philip Chesley, who arrived in New England in 1642
  • Win Chesley, who arrived in Virginia in 1658

Chesley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • John Chesley who settled in Maryland in 1751
  • Robert Chesley settled in Maryland in 1751

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  • Albert Cornell Chesley (b. 1957), former American NFL football linebacker
  • Paul Chesley, American photojournalist from Red Wing, Minnesota for the National Geographic Society
  • Robert Chesley (1943-1990), American playwright, theater critic and musical composer from Jersey City, New Jersey
  • Alison Chesley (b. 1960), birth name of Helen Money, American cellist and composer based in Chicago
  • Solomon Yeomans Chesley (1796-1880), American-born, Canadian public servant and politician in Canada West, eponym of the town of Chesley, Bruce County, Ontario
  • John Alexander Chesley (1837-1922), Canadian politician, Member of the Canadian Parliament for City and County of St. John (1892 to 1896)
  • Brigadier Leonard McEwan Chesley (b. 1898), Canadian Deputy Chief General Staff, National Defence Headquarters (1944-1945)


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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: Credo et videbo
Motto Translation: I believe, and I shall see.

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  1. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  2. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  3. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  4. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  5. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  6. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  8. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  9. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  11. ...

The Chesley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Chesley 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 9 April 2014 at 08:15.

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