Finley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Finley family lived among the ancient Scottish Pictish tribes. The name Finley comes from the Gaelic Fionnlagh which is often Anglicized to fair hero.

Early Origins of the Finley family

The surname Finley was first found in Banffshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Bhanbh), former Scottish county located in the northeasterly Grampian region of Scotland, now of divided between the Council Areas of Moray and Aberdeenshire, where they were descended from the Chiefs of the Clan Farquharson, one of the great federation of 26 Clans, known as the Clan Chattan.

Early History of the Finley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Finley research. Another 214 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1480, 1547, 1629, and 1755 are included under the topic Early Finley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Finley Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Findlay, Findlow, Findlaw, Finley, Finlay and others.

Early Notables of the Finley family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Finley family to Ireland

Some of the Finley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Finley migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Finley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Elizabeth Finley, who landed in Maryland in 1668 [1]
Finley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Robert Finley, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1702 [1]
  • Michael Finley, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1734 [1]
  • John and Will Finley, who settled in Georgia in 1735
  • Patrick Finley, who landed in Virginia in 1753 [1]
  • John Finley, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1768
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Finley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Eliz Finley, aged 57, who landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803 [1]
  • Napthali Finley, who arrived in America in 1812 [1]
  • Eliza Finley, who arrived in New York, NY in 1836 [1]
  • Margaret Finley, who landed in New York, NY in 1836 [1]
  • Louisa B Finley, who arrived in New York in 1843 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Finley migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Finley Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • John Finley, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
Finley Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Finley, who settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1810 and he was married in St John's, Newfoundland [2]
  • Lot Finley, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1830
  • Jane Finley, aged 19, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Juliana Finley, aged 17, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Thomas Finley, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1835
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Finley 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:

Finley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Finley, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Josephine Willis" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 5th February 1855 [3]
  • Mrs. Finley, British settler travelling from London with 2 children aboard the ship "Josephine Willis" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 5th February 1855 [3]
  • Miss Mary Finley, (b. 1846), aged 22, British cook travelling from London aboard the ship "Matoaka" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 8th February 1869 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Finley (post 1700) +

  • Sir Moses I. Finley FBA (1912-1986), American and English classical scholar, best known for his work is The Ancient Economy (1973)
  • William Finley (1940-2012), American actor, known for his roles in the films Simon, Silent Rage, Phantom of the Paradise, Sisters and The Wedding Party
  • William Lovell Finley (1876-1953), American wildlife photographer and conservationist from Northern California, eponym of the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge
  • William Asa Finley (1839-1912), American academic from Missouri, the 1st President of Corvallis College, known today as Oregon State University
  • The Rev. Samuel Finley (1715-1766), American evangelical preacher and academic, founder of the West Nottingham Academy, 5th President of Princeton University (1761-1766)
  • Reginald Vaughn Finley Sr. (b. 1974), American science and health educator, and genealogist
  • Robert Finley (1772-1817), American academic from Princeton, New Jersey, President of the University of Georgia in 1817
  • Mitch Finley (b. 1945), American author who writes on religious and Catholic subjects from La Grande, Oregon
  • Michael Howard Finley (b. 1973), American retired professional basketball player and current film producer
  • Karen Finley (b. 1956), American performance artist, musician and poet from Chicago, Illinois
  • ... (Another 24 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Royal Oak
  • Norman Finley, British Supply Petty Officer with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [4]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Woodrow Wilson Finley, American Private First Class from Tennessee, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [5]


The Finley 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: Beati Pacifici
Motto Translation: Blessed are the peacemakers


Suggested Readings for the name Finley +

  • 806 The Finley Clan, A Condensed Genealogy of the Finley Family at Home and Abroad by Herald Franklin Stout, Our Book of Finleys and Their Kinfolk Families by Leslie McLaughlin.

  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. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  3. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  4. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  5. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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