Colay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Colay is one of the oldest family names to come from the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is derived from the common diminutive of the popular name Nicholas. Col was a common diminutive of the popular name Nicholas. The form Colay was particularly popular in Yorkshire. Nicholas was the name of a popular saint from the fourth century, and was given to many children in England in the Middle Ages.
Early Origins of the Colay family
The surname Colay was first found in Gloucestershire at Coaley, a village in the union of Dursley, Upper division of the hundred of Berkeley which dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was listed as Couelege and was held by King William.  The place name literally means "clearing with a hut or shelter," from the Old English "cofa" + "leah." 
Alternatively, the name could have originated in Yorkshire as by the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379, the following were listed: Adam Coly; Agnes Coly; Rogeris Coly; and Willelmus Coiley as all holding lands there at that time. 
John Colley (fl. 1440), was an early theological writer, "a member of the Carmelite convent at Doncaster. He is said to have been an elegant Latin writer and an eloquent preacher." 
Early History of the Colay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Colay research. Another 150 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1513, 1560, 1554, 1633, 1695, 1633, 1585, 1637, 1621, 1674, 1648, 1700, 1698, 1699, 1685, 1723 and 1723 are included under the topic Early Colay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Colay Spelling Variations
Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Colay has undergone many spelling variations, including Colly, Colley, Collie, Caullie, Caulley, Caully, Coully, Coulley and many more.
Early Notables of the Colay family (pre 1700)
Notables of the family at this time include Thomas Colly (c. 1513-1560), of Dover, Kent, an English politician, Member of Parliament for Dover in 1554.
Henry Coley (1633-1695?), was a mathematician and...
Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Colay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Colay family to Ireland
Some of the Colay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 111 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Colay family
To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Colay were among those contributors: Thomas Colley and his family who settled in Barbados in 1680; and three years later John Colley and his wife Susan moved to Philadelphia.
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- ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
- ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print