Anglo-Saxon name Fearnly comes from when the family resided in a forest glade carpeted with ferns. The name Fearnly is derived from two Old English elements: fearn, the old English word for ferns, and leah, a word for a clearing in a forest.
Early Origins of the Fearnly family
Yorkshire. This place name dates back to c. 1030 and was originally spelt Fernleage eluding to its Saxon heritage. There were three listings of separate villages in the Domesday Book of 1086: Fernelai; Fernelei; and Fereleia. CITATION[CLOSE]
Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8) All were in the same area of Yorkshire. There are two Farnley Halls each with different origins but neither were held by the Fearnly family. Alternatively, the name could have originated in Derbyshire at Fernilee, a township, in the parish of Hope, union of Chapel-en-le-Frith, hundred of High-Peak that was originally spelt Ferneley in the 12th century. Both place names literally mean "woodland clearing where ferns grow," from the Old English words "fearn" + "leah." CITATION[CLOSE]
Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4) Some of the first records of the name include: Hugh de Fernlee who was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls of Worcestershire in 1206; and Hugh de Fernelay who was listed in Yorkshire in 1316. CITATION[CLOSE]
Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X) The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 had the following entries: Johannes de Farnelay, living at Fernelay; Johannes de Fernelee; Margeria de Fernelee; and Johanna de Ferenlowe. 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)
Early History of the Fearnly family
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Fearnly Spelling Variations
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. Fearnly has been recorded under many different variations, including Fearnley, Fernlie, Fernley and others.
Early Notables of the Fearnly family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Fearnly family to the New World and Oceana
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 Fearnly or a variant listed above: Thomas Fernley who settled in Virginia in 1623; James, John and Thomas Fernley all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.
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