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


The ancestors of the Ely family migrated to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The surname Ely is based on Fitz Elie, the name of a distinguished Norman family who came to England in 1066 with William the Conqueror's invasion.

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The surname Ely was first found in Cambridgeshire where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Ely include Ely, Elie, Ealy and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ely research. Another 161 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1605, 1675, 1634 and 1656 are included under the topic Early Ely History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 93 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ely Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Ely family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 49 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Elys to arrive on North American shores:

Ely Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Mr. Ely, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620
  • Walter Ely settled in Virginia in 1621
  • Elzabeth Ely, who landed in Virginia in 1622
  • Mrs. Ely, who arrived in Virginia in 1623
  • Elizabeth Ely who settled in Virginia in 1623


Ely Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Jane Ely, who landed in Virginia in 1711
  • Hans David Ely, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732
  • Christien Ely, aged 49, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1732
  • David Ely, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1754

Ely Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • F Ely, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1803
  • G E Ely, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • H C Ely, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • H G Ely, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Mrs. C Ely, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851

Ely Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Barbara Ely arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Troubadour" in 1850

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  • John Daniel Ely (b. 1986), American contemporary Major League Baseball right-handed starting pitcher
  • Harry Ely, American Major League Baseball player who for the Baltimore Orioles in 1892
  • Harry A. Ely, American football and baseball coach, active from 1892 to 1893
  • Dudley Pettibone Ely (1817-1895), American politician, 1st and 3rd Mayor of South Norwalk, Connecticut (1870-1872), (1876-1877)
  • Arthur V. Ely (1912-1942), United States Navy officer who was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his actions in combat during World War II
  • Richard Theodore Ely (1854-1943), American economist, founder and the first Secretary of the American Economic Association
  • Janet Ely (b. 1953), American gold and silver medalist diver in 1975
  • Eugene Burton Ely (1886-1911), American aviation pioneer, credited with the first shipboard aircraft take off and landing on November 14, 1910
  • Ronald Pierce "Ron" Ely (b. 1938), stage name of Ronald Pierce, American film actor, best known for having portrayed Tarzan in the 1966 NBC series Tarzan and for his starring role in the 1975 film Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze
  • Addison Ely (1853-1928), American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New Jersey 5th District, 1896

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  • Descendants of William Ely and Richard Ely: Sons of Richard Ely, 1610-1685: With Some Account of the Elys of Wonston by Moses S. Beach.
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  1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  3. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  4. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  5. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  7. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  8. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  9. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  10. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  11. ...

The Ely Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Ely 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 10 November 2015 at 22:32.

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