Gidley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of this name are somewhat uncertain. It seems quite plausible that the name is derived from the Germanic personal name "Giddo," which later became Gide in French, and Gidley in Anglo-Saxon Britain. There was also an Old English personal name "Gydda," of uncertain origin. There is a place named Gidleigh in Devon, that was part of the lands of the Count of Mortain in the entry in the Domesday Book of 1085.

Early Origins of the Gidley family

The surname Gidley was first found in Devon where "Gidleigh gave name to the family of Gidley is certain, but whether it came to them by a grant from ' one Martine Duke and Earl of Cornwall ' to ' his nephew, Giles de Gidleigh,' as Westcote affirms, may be doubted, and certainly cannot now be proved. The family of Prouz, who were associated with the manor and built a castle here in early Edwardian times, of which the shell yet remains, are said to have acquired it by marriage with the heiress of Giles de Gidleigh ; and, as one of the Prouzes is stated to have been steward to Richard, King of the Romans, it is not difficult to see how Westcote's story may have arisen. After the line of Prouz and their successors had long passed away, a Gidley, if not the Gidley family, came back again, and for awhile the manor was once more in the old name. Bartholomew Gidley (died 1686) was a local Royalist leader of note." [1] "Gidley Castle, a fragmentary ruin, still belongs to the family." [2]

"The Gidleys of Gidleigh, an ancient and an honourable family, came into the possession of the manor of Holcombe, Winkleigh, in the 17th century, and there they have since resided or held property. Bartholomew Gidley was a prominent supporter of Charles II. before the Restoration." [3]

Early History of the Gidley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gidley research. Another 48 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 166 and 1660 are included under the topic Early Gidley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gidley Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Gidley, Gydley, Gidly and others.

Early Notables of the Gidley family (pre 1700)

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

Gidley Ranking

In the United States, the name Gidley is the 15,506th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]


United States Gidley migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gidley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Gidley, who was on record in Virginia in 1769
Gidley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edwin Gidley, who settled in Philadelphia in 1875
  • Fred Gidley, who arrived in Michigan in 1888

Australia Gidley migration to Australia +

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

Gidley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Gidley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Caroline" in 1839 [5]
  • Elizabeth Gidley, aged 18, a servant, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "British Empire" in 1850 [6]
  • John Gidley, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "British Empire" in 1850 [6]
  • John Gidley, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "British Empire" [6]
  • Elizabeth Gidley, aged 18, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "British Empire" [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Gidley 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:

Gidley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Gidley, aged 37, a gardener, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Maraval" in 1879
  • Susan Gidley, aged 35, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Maraval" in 1879
  • George Gidley, aged 13, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Maraval" in 1879
  • William Gidley, aged 10, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Maraval" in 1879

Contemporary Notables of the name Gidley (post 1700) +

  • José Guillermo "Memo" Gidley, American racing driver, recipient of the Team USA Scholarship in 1995
  • Pamela Gidley (1966-2018), American television and movie actress from Methuen, Massachusetts, known for Cherry 2000 (1987), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) and Strange Luck (1995-1996)
  • Memo Gidley (b. 1970), Mexican-American racing driver of German and Canadian ancestry
  • Townsend E. Gidley, American politician, Member of Michigan State House of Representatives from Jackson County, 1835-36, 1838, 1850; Member of Michigan State Senate, 1839-42, 1863-64 [7]
  • Edward A. Gidley, American politician, Socialist Labor Candidate for U.S. Representative from New York 20th District, 1902, 1904 [7]
  • Sandra Julia Gidley (b. 1957), British politician from Rossett, Wrexham, Wales, Member of Parliament for Romsey (2000-2010)
  • Kurt Gidley (b. 1982), Australian footballer and captain of the Newcastle Knights in the NRL
  • Jennifer Gidley PhD, Australian psychologist, educator and futures researcher
  • Matthew Gidley (b. 1977), Australian rugby league player


  1. ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CAROLINE 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Caroline.htm
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BRITISH EMPIRE 1850. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850BritishEmpire.htm
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 17) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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