at Gazeley, a village and civil parish in the Forest Heath district that dates back to 1219. It was originally listed as Gaysleand which literally meant "woodland clearing of a man called Gaegi," having derived from the Old English
One of the first records of the surname was in the 13th century when Alexander de Gaseley was listed in the
of 1275. The same source lists Andrew de Gasele in
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gesley research.Another 50 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1326, 1630, 1669, 1825 and 1898 are included under the topic Early Gesley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gesley has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred
years, spelling variations
in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Spelling variants included: Gazeley, Gazely, Gaselee, Gaselea, Gaysley, Geysley, Gesley, Gezley, Gayslee, Gazelee and many more.
In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England
, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Gesleys to arrive on North American shores: the name represented in many forms and recorded from the mid 17th century in the great migration from Europe. Migrants settled in the eastern seaboard from Newfoundland, to Maine, to Virginia, the Carolinas, and to the islands. G.H. and G.W. Gazley arrived in San Francisco in 1851..