Show ContentsColly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the name Colly begins with 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 Colly 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 Colly family

The surname Colly 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. [1] The place name literally means "clearing with a hut or shelter," from the Old English "cofa" + "leah." [2]

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. [3]

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." [4]

Early History of the Colly family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Colly research. Another 150 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1513, 1554, 1560, 1585, 1621, 1633, 1637, 1648, 1674, 1685, 1695, 1698, 1699, 1700 and 1723 are included under the topic Early Colly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Colly Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Colly has been recorded under many different variations, including Colly, Colley, Collie, Caullie, Caulley, Caully, Coully, Coulley and many more.

Early Notables of the Colly family

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

Ireland Migration of the Colly family to Ireland

Some of the Colly 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.

United States Colly migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Colly or a variant listed above:

Colly Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Colly, who landed in Virginia in 1623 [5]
  • Walter Colly, aged 19, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [5]
  • Mr. Walter Colly, (b. 1616), aged 19, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Constance" arriving in Virginia in 1635 [6]
  • Tho Colly, who landed in Virginia in 1636 [5]
  • Margaret Colly, who arrived in Virginia in 1663 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Colly Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Colly, who landed in Virginia in 1704 [5]
Colly Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • W Colly, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • I D Colly, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1860 [5]

Australia Colly migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Colly Settlers in Australia in the 18th Century
  • Miss Elizabeth Colly, (Keiver, Heiver), (b. 1775), aged 23, English convict who was convicted in Somerset, England for 7 years , transported aboard the "Britannia III" on 18th July 1798, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, she died in 1863 [7]

New Zealand Colly migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Colly Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Jessie Colly, aged 22, a housemaid, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rakaia" in 1878
  • Lydia Colly, aged 26, a housemaid, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rakaia" in 1878

Contemporary Notables of the name Colly (post 1700) +

  • James Colly Farthing (1913-1967), American Democratic Party politician, Solicitor, 16th Solicitorial District, 1947-57; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from North Carolina, 1948, 1956; Superior Court Judge in North Carolina, 1957-67; Judge, North Carolina Court of Appeals, 1967 [8]

  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  5. 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)
  6. Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's. Retrieved October 5th 2021 from
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th October 2020). Retrieved from
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, March 10) . Retrieved from on Facebook