Ealay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Ealay family arrived in England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Ealay came from Fitz Elie, the name of a distinguished Norman family who came to England in 1066 with William the Conqueror's invasion.

Early Origins of the Ealay family

The surname Ealay was first found in Cambridgeshire at Ely, a city, and the head of a union, in the Isle of Ely. [1] [2]

"This place, which is the capital of an extensive district in the Fens, comprising the greater part of the northern division of Cambridgeshire, is supposed to have derived its Saxon name Elig either from the British Helyg, a willow, with which tree, from the marshy nature of the soil, it especially abounded, or, according to Bede, from Elge, an eel, for which fish it was equally remarkable. Ethelreda, daughter of Anna, King of the East Angles, founded a monastery here, in 673, for monks and nuns." [3]

The earliest records of the family were not from here, but in elsewhere at the time of the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273: Reginald filius Elye, Lincolnshire; and Gilbert Elye, Kent. [4]The Placita de Quo Warranto, temp. Edward I-III also listed John filius Elie, Lincolnshire, 20 Edward I (during the twentieth year of King Edward I's reign) In Norfolk, Nicholas de Ely was bailiff of Norwich, 1227. [5]

Nicholas of Ely (d. 1280), was Chancellor and successively Bbishop of Worcester and Winchester, and "may have derived his name from the fact that about 1249 he was appointed Archdeacon of Ely. He was also a few years later Prebendary of St. Paul's. There is, however, a Nicholas of Ely mentioned as prior of the Cluniac monastery of Daventry in Northamptonshire between 1231 and 1264. " [6]

Early History of the Ealay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ealay research. Another 81 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1609, 1604, 1605, 1675, 1634 and 1656 are included under the topic Early Ealay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ealay Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Ely, Elie, Ealy and others.

Early Notables of the Ealay family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Ely (d. 1609), was an English Catholic divine, brother of Dr. Humphrey Ely and as born in Herefordshire, and educated at Brasenose College, Oxford. His brother, Humphrey Ely (d. 1604), was also an English Catholic divine and a native...
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ealay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Ealay family to Ireland

Some of the Ealay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 31 words (2 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 Ealay family

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Ealay or a variant listed above: Elizabeth Ely who settled in Virginia in 1623; Nathaniel Ely settled in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1630; Walter Ely settled in Virginia in 1621.



  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  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)
  5. ^ Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print
  6. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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