Show ContentsEaley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Ealey was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. It comes 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 Ealey family

The surname Ealey 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 Bishop 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 Ealey family

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

Ealey Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Ely, Elie, Ealy and others.

Early Notables of the Ealey family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Ely (d. 1609), was an English Catholic divine, brother of Dr. Humphrey Ely, born in Herefordshire, and educated at Brasenose College, Oxford. His brother, Humphrey Ely (d. 1604), was also an English Catholic divine and a native of...
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ealey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ealey Ranking

In the United States, the name Ealey is the 10,922nd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [7]

Ireland Migration of the Ealey family to Ireland

Some of the Ealey 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.

United States Ealey migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Ealey or a variant listed above:

Ealey Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Martyn Ealey, aged 44, who immigrated to the United States from Penargyle, England, in 1908
  • Hannah M. Ealey, aged 41, who landed in America from England, in 1909
  • John Joseph Ealey, who landed in America, in 1917
  • Richard Ealey, aged 24, who landed in America, in 1919
  • Richard Ealey, aged 25, who settled in America from Liverpool, England, in 1919
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Ealey (post 1700) +

  • Robert Ealey (1925-2001), American blues singer
  • Charles "Chuck" Ealey (b. 1950), American-born, Canadian CFL quarterback football player, Most Outstanding Rookie Award (1972)
  • Kristian John Ealey (1977-2016), English actor and musician, best known for his roles in the soap operas Brookside (1998-2000) and Hollyoaks (2000-2004)
  • E.H.M. Ealey, Australian biologist, eponym of the Ealey Glacier, Australia

  1. Lower, 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
  7. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?"., on Facebook