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.


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 [2]
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 [2]
  • Maurice Foley, who landed in America in 1799 [2]
Foley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Philip Foley, aged 45, who landed in New York in 1812 [2]
  • Edward Foley, aged 27, who arrived in New York in 1812 [2]
  • Elea Foley, aged 27, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1812 [2]
  • Anne Foley, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [2]
  • William Foley, who landed in New York, NY in 1816 [2]
  • ... (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
  • Henry Foley was a fisherman of Torbay in Newfoundland in 1774 [3]
  • John Foley, from Dublin, an Irish convict, who landed in Bay Bulls, Newfoundland in 1789 [3]
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 [3]
  • 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. 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 [4]
  • 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 [4]
  • Miss Eleanor Foley, (b. 1805), aged 21, Irish servant who was convicted in Londonderry, Ireland for 7 years for robbery, transported aboard the "Brothers" on 3rd October 1826, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Daniel Foley, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Andromeda" on November 13, 1832, settling in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Mr. Henry Foley, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Bardaster" on 7th September 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [7]
  • ... (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 [8]
  • William P. Foley, American politician, Candidate in primary for Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts, 1963 [8]
  • William J. Foley, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1972 [8]
  • William J. Foley (b. 1887), American Democrat politician, Member of Massachusetts State House of Representatives Ninth Suffolk District, 1915-18; Member of Massachusetts State Senate, 1919-20 [8]
  • William J. Foley Jr., American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1956, 1960, 1964 [8]
  • William J. Foley, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Ohio 18th District, 1902, 1904; Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 1912 [8]
  • William G. Foley, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 29th District, 1954 [8]
  • William H. Foley Sr., American politician, Mayor of Rutland, Vermont, 1971-73 [8]
  • William F. Foley, American Democrat politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State Senate 1st District, 1940 [8]
  • ... (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 [9]
  • Mr. M. S.  Foley, Canadian Able Seaman with the Naval Department from Westmount, Quebec, Canada who died in the explosion [9]
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 [10]
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 [11]
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 [12]
  • 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 [12]
  • 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 [12]
  • 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 [12]


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 +

  • 547 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. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/brothers
  6. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 27) Andromeda voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1832 with 186 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/andromeda/1832
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bardaster
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 2) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  9. ^ 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
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  12. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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