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

Origins Available: English, Irish


Early is a name whose history is entwined with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It was a name for a male who was of manly character. The surname Early originally derived from the Old English word Eorlic which referred to one who displayed manly characteristics. The surname Early belongs to a broad and miscellaneous class of surnames. Nickname surnames referred to a characteristic of the first person who used the name. They can describe the bearer's favored style of clothing, appearance, habits, or character. Often nicknames described strong traits or attributes that people wished to emulate in a specific animal.

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The surname Early was first found in Somerset where one of the first records of the name was John de Earlea who was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1162. A few years later, William de Erlega was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Sussex in 1190 and John de Erley was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Berkshire in 1230. [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
Bardsley claims the name was a local name "of Earley, a parish in the diocese of Oxford." [2]CITATION[CLOSE]
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
He quotes another contemporary source "Lower says 'A liberty in the parish of Sonning, co. Berks.' " [2]CITATION[CLOSE]
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
The latter Berkshire local was confirmed by Reaney. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list the following found in Somerset: Clemens Erleghe; Phillip Erlee; and Warin Erlee. [2]CITATION[CLOSE]
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
The Berkshire local is the only one we could find today.

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Early were recorded, including Early, Erlegh, Erlee, Erly, Earley, Erle, Erley, Arlie and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Early research. Another 209 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 127 and 1273 are included under the topic Early Early History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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More information is included under the topic Early Early Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Early family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Early family emigrate to North America:

Early Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Robert Early who settled in New England in 1633
  • Robert Early, who arrived in America in 1634

Early Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Thomas Early who settled in North Carolina in 1700
  • Thomas Early, who landed in North Carolina in 1701
  • Jeremia Early, who arrived in Virginia in 1704
  • Jacob Early, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1761

Early Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • John Early, who landed in America in 1804
  • Catherine Early, who arrived in Baltimore in 1829
  • Michael Early, who landed in New York in 1833
  • William Early, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1834
  • Patrick Early, aged 30, landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1834
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Early Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • John Early, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1814
  • Donald Early, who landed in Quebec in 1825
  • Pat Early, who immigrated to Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833
  • Patrick Early, aged 20, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Ugoni" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Mary Early, aged 24, a farmer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the ship "Britannia" from Sligo, Ireland
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Early Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Early arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1848
  • George Early arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1848
  • Mark Early, aged 25, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Fitzjames"

Early Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • J. W. Early a farmer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Romulus" in 1862
  • J. Early arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Beauty" in 1863
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  • Delbert E. Early, American politician, Candidate for Michigan State Treasurer, 1916
  • Daisy M. Early, American Republican politician, Member of West Virginia Republican State Executive Committee, 1941; Candidate for Presidential Elector for West Virginia, 1948
  • D. Miller Early, American politician, Burgess of Wilson, Pennsylvania, 1927-37
  • Bernard Early, American Republican politician, Member of Massachusetts State House of Representatives Fourth Middlesex District, 1923-24
  • Alva H. Early, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from North Carolina, 1940
  • Don Early, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Minnesota, 1984
  • E. V. Early, American politician, Mayor of Meridian, Mississippi, 1874-75
  • Edward M. Early (b. 1935), American Democrat politician, Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, 1971-74; Member of Pennsylvania State Senate 40th District, 1975-86
  • J. D. Early, American Democrat politician, Member of Illinois Democratic State Committee, 1837-38
  • Jack Early, American Republican politician, Candidate for Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, 2002
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  • Descendants of John Early Virginia (1729-1774) by Margaret Woods Hampton.
  • The Early Families of Knox and Whitley Counties, Kentucky, with Allied Families by Cleland Edward Early.
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Citations



  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)

Other References

  1. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  2. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  3. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  4. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  5. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  7. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  8. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  9. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  10. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  11. ...

The Early Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Early 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 19 December 2015 at 11:26.

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