Show ContentsFolley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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

Early Origins of the Folley family

The surname Folley 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 Folley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Folley 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 Folley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Folley Spelling Variations

Just like the English language, the Gaelic language of Ireland was not standardized in the Middle Ages. Therefore, one's name was often recorded under several different spellings during the life of its bearer. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origins of the Folley family name include Foley, MacSharry, Foaley, Foli, Fooley, Sharry, Sharrie, McSharry, MacSharey, McSharey, Foalie, Foolie, Fowlie and many more.

Early Notables of the Folley 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 Folley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Folley migration to the United States +

Death and immigration greatly reduced Ireland's population in the 19th century. For the native Irish people poverty, hunger, and racial prejudice was common. Therefore, thousands left their homeland to seek opportunity in North America. Those who survived the journey and the quarantine camps to which they arrived, were instrumental towards building the strong developing nations of the United States and the future Canada. By far, the largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. These were employed as construction or factory workers. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has shown early immigrants bearing the name Folley:

Folley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Folley, who landed in Virginia in 1701 [2]
  • Peter Folley, who arrived in New York in 1709 [2]
  • Jeremiah Folley, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1765 [2]
Folley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Folley, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1876 [2]

Canada Folley migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Folley Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Folley, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1815

Australia Folley migration to Australia +

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

Folley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Ephraim Folley, English convict who was convicted in Surrey, England for 14 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 18th June 1835, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [3]
  • Mr. Richard Folley, (b. 1819), aged 23, Cornish labourer travelling aboard the ship "Himalaya" arriving in Port Phillip, New South Wales, Australia on 26th February 1842 [4]
  • Mr. Richard Folley, (b. 1819), aged 23, Cornish labourer departing from Plymouth in October 1841 aboard the ship "Himalaya" arriving in Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia on 26th February 1842 [5]

New Zealand Folley 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:

Folley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Folley, aged 21, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alma" in 1857

The Folley 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.

  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. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from
  4. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, May 30). Ships' Passenger Lists of Arrivals in New South Wales on (1828 - 1842, 1848 - 1849) [PDF]. Retrieved from
  5. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retreived 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from on Facebook