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


The rich and ancient history of the Dilley family name dates back to the time of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It comes from the baptismal name meaning the son of Dilk. The surname was originally of Dutch origin and was brought into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. Baptismal names began to appear as surnames relatively late in the growth of the naming tradition. This is a little surprising, given the popularity of biblical figures in the Christian countries of Europe. Nevertheless, surnames derived from baptismal names grew in popularity during the Middle Ages, and have become one of the foremost sources for surnames.

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The surname Dilley was first found in Warwickshire. "Maxstoke Castle is the property of Capt. Thomas Dilke, R.N., a descendant of Sir Thomas Dilke, who purchased it in the 41st of Elizabeth from Sir Thomas Egerton, keeper of the great seal: the buildings occupy an irregular quadrilateral area, inclosed by an embattled wall, and defended at the angles by octagonal towers, and are in a fine state of preservation." [1]

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Dilley have been found, including Dilke, Dilkes, Dilks, Dilley, Dill, Dillow and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dilley research. Another 95 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dilley History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Dilley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Among the first immigrants of the name Dilley, or a variant listed above to cross the Atlantic and come to North America were :

Dilley Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • George S. Dilley, aged 26, who landed in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1905
  • Harley Dilley, aged 4, who emigrated to the United States from London, England, in 1906
  • Ellen F. Dilley, aged 54, who landed in America, in 1906
  • Ailene Dilley, aged 2, who emigrated to the United States from London, England, in 1906
  • Almira Dilley, aged 6, who emigrated to America from London, England, in 1906


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  • Becki and Keith Dilley, American parents of the Dilley sextuplets, born May 25, 1993, America's first set of surviving sextuplets
  • Whitney Crothers Dilley, American professor of comparative literature and cinema studies
  • Gary J. Dilley (b. 1945), former American swimmer
  • Sherry Dilley (b. 1942), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Nevada, 2004
  • Robert W. Dilley (1918-1998), American Democrat politician, Candidate for Michigan State Senate 16th District, 1950
  • M. L. Dilley, American politician, Candidate for Michigan State Senate 7th District, 1934
  • L. Norman Dilley, American Democrat politician, Chair of Mercer County Democratic Party, 1937
  • J. F. Dilley, American politician, Member of Minnesota State House of Representatives 20th District, 1873-74
  • Abner Dilley, American Democrat politician, Constitutional Democratic Candidate for Michigan State Attorney General, 1938
  • Graham Roy Dilley (1959-2011), English cricketer

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  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  2. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  3. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  4. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  5. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  6. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  7. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Dilley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dilley 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 8 February 2016 at 15:56.

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