Galley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The saga of the name Galley follows a line reaching back through history to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes in Britain. It was a name for someone who worked as a galleyman or rower. Occupational names that were derived from the common trades of the medieval era transcended European cultural and linguistic boundaries. Occupational names have remained fairly common in the modern period. This is attested to by the continuing appearance of occupational suffixes at the end of many English surnames. Some of these suffixes include: herd, monger, maker, hewer, smith, and wright. Similarly, surnames of office, which include military, judicial, papal and other positions of authority, are widespread throughout Europe. Those who were involved in the military, or feudal armies, were given names such as the English surname Archer, the French name Chevalier and the German name Jeger, which means hunter. Names that were derived from judicial and papal titles, such as Bailiffe, Squire and Abbott, are still commonly seen with the same surname spelling today.

Early Origins of the Galley family

The surname Galley was first found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat from very early times.

Important Dates for the Galley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Galley research. Another 72 words (5 lines of text) covering the year 1304 is included under the topic Early Galley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Galley Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Galley were recorded, including Galley, Gallie, Gally, Galey, Gally and others.

Early Notables of the Galley family (pre 1700)

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

Galley migration to the United States

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Galley family emigrate to North America:

Galley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Tho Galley, aged 20, who arrived in St Christopher in 1635 [1]
  • John Galley purchased land in Salem, Massachusetts in 1637
  • Thomas Galley landed on the island of St. Christopher in 1637
  • William Galley, who settled in Virginia in 1637
  • John Galley, who settled in Barbados in 1660
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Galley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • George Galley, who landed in Virginia in 1716 [1]
  • Daniel Galley, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1772
Galley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Daniel Galley, who landed in New York in 1801 [1]
  • William Galley, who arrived in New York in 1801 [1]
  • James Galley, who landed in America in 1807 [1]
  • John Galley, who arrived in New York in 1813 [1]
  • Joseph Galley, who settled in New Orleans in 1822
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Galley migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Galley Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Philip Galley, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750

Galley migration to Australia

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

Galley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Galley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Spartan" in 1849 [2]

Galley 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:

Galley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Henry Galley, British settler travelling from London, UK with 1 child aboard the ship "Assaye" arriving in Auckland, North Island, New Zealand on 26th December 1874 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Galley (post 1700)

  • Robert A Galley, scientist and Director of Shell Research in Kent


  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. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The SPARTAN 1849. Retrieved from
  3. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
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