Foley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The original Gaelic form of Foley was O Foghladha, derived from the word "foghladha," which means "plunderer." [1]

Early Origins of the Foley family

The surname Foley was first found in Waterford (Irish: Port Láirge), anciently the Deise region, on the South coast of Ireland in the Province of Munster, in southern Ireland where they held a family seat from very ancient times.

Early History of the Foley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Foley research. Another 131 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1131, 1580, 1657, 1617, 1677, 1659, 1677, 1624, 1676, 1651, 1702, 1644, 1699, 1695, 1699, 1655, 1695, 1673, 1733, 1694 and 1712 are included under the topic Early Foley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Foley Spelling Variations

Names from the Middle Ages demonstrate many spelling variations. This is because the recording scribe or church official often decided as to how a person's name was spelt and in what language. Research into the name Foley revealed many variations, including Foley, MacSharry, Foaley, Foli, Fooley, Sharry, Sharrie, McSharry, MacSharey, McSharey, Foalie, Foolie, Fowlie and many more.

Early Notables of the Foley family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family name at this time was Richard Foley (1580-1657), English ironmaster, best known from the folktale of "Fiddler Foley"; Thomas Foley (1617-1677), an English ironmaster and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1659 and 1677; Robert Foley (1624-1676), of Stourbridge, regarded as the most important ironmaster of his time in the west Midlands; and his son...
Another 61 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Foley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Foley World Ranking

In the United States, the name Foley is the 692nd most popular surname with an estimated 42,279 people with that name. [2] However, in Canada, the name Foley is ranked the 818th most popular surname with an estimated 6,548 people with that name. [3] And in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Foley is the 161st popular surname with an estimated 243 people with that name. [4] Australia ranks Foley as 480th with 7,871 people. [5] New Zealand ranks Foley as 556th with 1,268 people. [6] The United Kingdom ranks Foley as 707th with 9,485 people. [7]


United States Foley migration to the United States +

The 19th century saw a great wave of Irish families leaving Ireland for the distant shores of North America and Australia. These families often left their homeland hungry, penniless, and destitute due to the policies of England. Those Irish immigrants that survived the long sea passage initially settled on the eastern seaboard of the continent. Some, however, moved north to a then infant Canada as United Empire Loyalists after ironically serving with the English in the American War of Independence. Others that remained in America later joined the westward migration in search of land. The greatest influx of Irish immigrants, though, came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Thousands left Ireland at this time for North America, and those who arrived were immediately put to work building railroads, coal mines, bridges, and canals. In fact, the foundations of today's powerful nations of the United States and Canada were to a larger degree built by the Irish. Archival documents indicate that members of the Foley family relocated to North American shores quite early:

Foley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Tho Foley, who arrived in Virginia in 1664 [8]
Foley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Bryan Foley purchased land in Virginia in 1714
  • James Foley purchased land in Virginia in 1770
  • Morris Foley, who arrived in America in 1787 [8]
  • Maurice Foley, who landed in America in 1799 [8]
Foley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Philip Foley, aged 45, who landed in New York in 1812 [8]
  • Edward Foley, aged 27, who arrived in New York in 1812 [8]
  • Elea Foley, aged 27, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1812 [8]
  • Anne Foley, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [8]
  • William Foley, who landed in New York, NY in 1816 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Foley migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Foley Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
Foley Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William Foley of Cashel Parish (Tipperary) in Ireland was married in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1804 [9]
  • James Foley, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1810
  • Peter Foley, who landed in Halifax in 1811
  • Mich Foley, who arrived in Canada in 1820
  • Michael Foley, who landed in Canada in 1823
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Foley migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Foley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Batholomew Foley, British Convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "Earl Cornwallis" in August 1800, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • Mr. John Foley, Irish convict who was convicted in Carlow, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 29th November 1801, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Mr. John Foley, Irish convict who was convicted in Cork, Ireland for life, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 29th November 1801, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Mr. John Foley, English convict who was convicted in Surrey, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Canada" on 23rd April 1819, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [12]
  • Mr. Patrick Foley, (b. 1793), aged 29, Irish convict who was convicted in Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Countess of Harcourt" on 3rd September 1822, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Foley 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:

Foley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Foley, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Micheal Foley, aged 41, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inchinnan" in 1852
  • Mary Foley, aged 35, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inchinnan" in 1852
  • Julia Foley, aged 16, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inchinnan" in 1852
  • John Foley, aged 6, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inchinnan" in 1852
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Foley (post 1700) +

  • David Edward Foley (1930-2018), American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop of Birmingham (1994-2005)
  • William T. Foley, American politician, First Selectman of Southington, Connecticut, 1922-27 [14]
  • William P. Foley, American politician, Candidate in primary for Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts, 1963 [14]
  • William J. Foley, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1972 [14]
  • William J. Foley (b. 1887), American Democratic Party politician, Member of Massachusetts State House of Representatives Ninth Suffolk District, 1915-18; Member of Massachusetts State Senate, 1919-20 [14]
  • William J. Foley Jr., American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1956, 1960, 1964 [14]
  • William J. Foley, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Ohio 18th District, 1902, 1904; Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 1912 [14]
  • William G. Foley, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 29th District, 1954 [14]
  • William H. Foley Sr., American politician, Mayor of Rutland, Vermont, 1971-73 [14]
  • William F. Foley, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State Senate 1st District, 1940 [14]
  • ... (Another 115 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mrs. Margaret  Foley, Canadian resident from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [15]
  • Mr. M. S.  Foley, Canadian Able Seaman with the Naval Department from Westmount, Quebec, Canada who died in the explosion [15]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Rodney A Foley (b. 1901), English Chief Stoker serving for the Royal Navy from Cowes, Isle of Wight, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [16]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Arthur Richard Foley, American 2nd Class passenger from Trenton, New Jersey, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking and was recovered [17]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. William C. Foley, aged 26, English Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking by escaping in life boat 13 [18]
  • Mr. John Foley, aged 44, English Storekeeper from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 4 [18]
  • Mr. Joseph Foley (d. 1912), aged 19, Irish Third Class passenger from Broadford, Limerick who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [18]
  • Mr. William Foley (d. 1912), aged 20, Irish Third Class passenger from Donoughmore, Cork who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [18]
SS Newfoundland
  • Mr. Charles Foley (1893-1914), Newfoundlander from St. Bride's, who on the 30th March 1914 he was part of the Seal Crew of the "SS Newfoundland" leaving the ship to intercept the Stephano which took him to the hunting grounds, he disembarked to begin sealing, but was caught in a thickening storm, attempting to return to the Newfoundland he and the 132 crew made camp for two days the sealers were stranded on the ice in a blizzard attempting to return to the ship, he died during this time
SS Southern Cross
  • Mr. James Foley (1893-1914), Newfoundlander from Grey Island who was aboard the "SS Southern Cross" when it is suspected she sank between the 31st March 1914 and early April during the storm with a heavy load of pelts; no survivors were ever found


The Foley 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: Ut prosim
Motto Translation: That I may be of use.


Suggested Readings for the name Foley +

  • Our Foleys' by Vivian E. Meissner Foley.
  • Notes on Andrews, Carlisle, Foley, and Hagarty Families of Washington County, Pennsylvania, 1790-1870 by John Bradley Arthaud.

  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  3. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  4. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  5. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  7. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 13th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-cornwallis
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/canada
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/countess-of-harcourt
  14. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 2) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  15. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  16. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  17. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  18. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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