Show ContentsElsey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the name Elsey begins with the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is derived from the baptismal name Elsy, which was originally derived from the Old Norse word Aelfsige, which literally means elf-victory. 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.

Early Origins of the Elsey family

The surname Elsey was first found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Elsey family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Elsey research. Another 64 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Elsey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Elsey 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. Elsey has been recorded under many different variations, including Elsley, Elsey and others.

Early Notables of the Elsey family

Notables of this surname at this time include:

  • John Elsey of Mount St...

United States Elsey 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 Elsey or a variant listed above:

Elsey Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Nicholas Elsey, who settled in Boston in 1637 aboard the ship "Hector"
  • John Elsey, who arrived in Virginia in 1652 1
  • Peter Elsey, who arrived in Maryland in 1661 1
Elsey Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Elsey, who landed in Virginia in 1711 1
  • John Elsey, who settled in Maryland in 1740
Elsey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Richard Elsey, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1852

New Zealand Elsey 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:

Elsey Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Hannah J. Elsey, (b. 1832), aged 30, British governess travelling from London aboard the ship "Echunga" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 24th December 1862 2
  • Miss Hannah J. Elsey, (b. 1841), aged 30, English nursery governess from Middelsex, England, travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship 'Merope' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 25th August 1871 2

Contemporary Notables of the name Elsey (post 1700) +

  • Bernie Elsey (1906-1986), English-born, Australian property developer and entrepreneur 3
  • William Elsey (1870-1936), English-born rugby player 4
  • The Rt Rev William Edward Elsey (1880-1966), Anglican Bishop, Bishop of Kalgoorlie 5
  • Karl William Elsey (b. 1958), Welsh former professional footballer

The Elsey Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Sans Dieu rien
Motto Translation: Without God, nothing.

  1. 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)
  2. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  3. Bernie Elsey. (Retrieved 2010, October 6) Bernie Elsey. Retrieved from
  4. William Elsey. (Retrieved 2010, October 6) William Elsey. Retrieved from
  5. William Elsey. (Retrieved 2010, October 6) William Elsey. Retrieved from on Facebook