Show ContentsGreenly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Scottish surname Greenly is a habitational name taken on one of the places named Greenlees, in Lanarkshire. The place name comes from the Scots words "gre-ne" meaning "green," and "ley(s)," meaning a "a meadow." [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Greenly family

The surname Greenly was first found in Berwickshire. [3]

"[Greenlaw, Berwickshire] is supposed to have derived its name from the situation of the ancient village on one of those conical eminences of which there are several in the parish, which eminence, from its superior verdure, obtained the appellation of the Green Law." [4]

"This is the name of an old family in Berwickshire, derived from their lands there. They may have been an offshoot from the Dunbars. William de Grenlawa, c. 1180. An agreement between the abbot of Kelso and Roland de Grenelawe regarding the chapel was made c. 1200. Magister William de Grenlau, a churchman, witnessed a charter by Walter, bishop of Glasgow, c. 1208-18, and in 1221 was one of a number appointed to settle a dispute between the churches of Glasgow and Kelso, and c. 1221-31 witnessed the grant of the church of Lympetlaw to Kelso Abbey. In 1233 he witnessed resignation of the lands of Eduluestun to the church of Glasgow. William of Greenlaw, son of Roland, son of William, witnessed Melrose documents of 1236-37, and held lands in Hawington of Robert de Muschamp, part of which he gave to Melrose Abbey before 1247, in which year he died." [5]

Early History of the Greenly family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Greenly research. Another 302 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1574, 1689, 1296, 1306, 1868, 1327, 1361, 1386, 1422, 1424, 1426, 1439, 1452, 1503, 1729, 1820, 1696, 1354 and 1421 are included under the topic Early Greenly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Greenly Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Greenlees, Greenleaf, Greenleas, Greenles and others.

Early Notables of the Greenly family (pre 1700)

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

Greenly Ranking

In the United States, the name Greenly is the 16,146th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]

West Indies Greenly migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [7]
Greenly Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Steeven Greenly, aged 16, who landed in Barbados in 1635 [8]
  • Mr. John Greenly, (b. 1615), aged 20, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Peter Bonaventure" arriving in Barbados and St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 [9]
  • Mr. Steeven Greenly, (b. 1619), aged 16, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Peter Bonaventure" arriving in Barbados and St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Greenly (post 1700) +

  • William L. Greenly (1813-1883), American Democratic Party politician, Member of Michigan State Senate, 1839-40, 1842-43; Lieutenant Governor of Michigan, 1846-47; Governor of Michigan, 1847-48; Mayor of Adrian, Michigan, 1858-59 [10]
  • Thomas Greenly, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Madison County, 1817-19; Member of New York State Senate 5th District, 1823-25 [10]

The Greenly 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: Viresco
Motto Translation: I flourish.

  1. Sims, Clifford Stanley The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames. 1862. Print.
  2. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.
  4. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  8. 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)
  9. Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's. Retrieved 23rd September 2021 from
  10. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 13) . Retrieved from on Facebook