Folly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The ancient Norman culture that was established in England after the Conquest of 1066 produced the name of Folly. It was given to a free-spirited or eccentric person. Further research showed the name was derived from the Latin word follis which formerly referred to anything filled with air, but which later took on metaphorical connotations of empty-headedness and vanity. 
Early Origins of the Folly family
The surname Folly was first found in Northamptonshire where they held a family seat from early times, and granted the lands by William the Conqueror for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. The family originated in Cotentin in western Normandy, and Sampson Foliot was the Seigneur, or Lord, of Montfarville, near Cherbourg. 
One of the first records of the family was Gilbert Foliot (d. 1188), Bishop of Hereford and London. "He was of a Norman family which had been settled in England from the Conquest, and was related to the Earls of Hereford. It appears that some of his connections were among the Normans who had acquired estates in Scotland. The earliest fact known about him is his profession as a monk in the famous monastery of Clugny, where he must have been under Peter the Venerable, the great antagonist of St. Bernard. Foliot rose to the rank of prior of this house of three hundred monks, from which post he was promoted to the headship of the affiliated house of Abbeville." 
Robert Foliot (d. 1186), was Bishop of Hereford, a near kinsman of Gilbert Foliot, Bishop of London, and was a man of considerable learning. 
Early History of the Folly family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Folly research. Another 123 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1100, 1599, 1147, 1691, 1762, 1568, 1622, 1603, 1613, 1613, 1697, 1716, 1695, 1697, 1660, 1697, 1692, 1693, 1667, 1701, 1692, 1693, 1655, 1699, 1696, 1765, 1730, 1760 and 1761 are included under the topic Early Folly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Folly Spelling Variations
Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Folliot, Foliot, Folliott, Ffolliott and others.
Early Notables of the Folly family (pre 1700)
Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Folly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Folly family to Ireland
Some of the Folly family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 185 words (13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Folly migration to the United States +
Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Folly or a variant listed above:
Folly Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- Nico Folly, aged 16, who landed in Virginia in 1635 
- Xpian Folly, who arrived in Virginia in 1651 
- John Folly, who arrived in Maryland in 1673 
Folly Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- Peter Folly, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 
Related Stories +
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
- ^ 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)