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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Grimsley family come from? What is the English Grimsley family crest and coat of arms? When did the Grimsley family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Grimsley family history?

The name Grimsley was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Grimsley family lived in Worcestershire as Lords of the manor of Grimley.


Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Grimley, Grimly, Grimleigh, Grimlie, Grymley and many more.

First found in Worcestershire at Grimley, a village and civil parish now in the Malvern Hills District, originally in the union of Martley, Lower division of the hundred of Oswaldslow. An ancient Saxon stronghold, the first listing of the place name was in the 9th century when it was listed as Grimanleage. By the Domesday Book of 1086, the place name had evolved to Grimanleh and consisted of a mill and one half of a fishery of eels. [1] The place name literally means "wood or glade haunted by a spectre or goblin," from the Old English words "grima" + "leah." [2]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Grimsley research. Another 155 words(11 lines of text) covering the years 189 and are included under the topic Early Grimsley History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Grimsley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Grimsley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 103 words(7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Grimsley or a variant listed above:

Grimsley Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Nelson Grimsley, aged 55, who emigrated to America, in 1907
  • David Grimsley, who landed in America, in 1912
  • Edith Annie Grimsley, aged 31, who emigrated to the United States from England, in 1916
  • Elisabeth Grimsley, aged 53, who settled in America, in 1920
  • Nellie Grimsley, aged 21, who landed in America from Leicester, England, in 1921


  • Jason Alen Grimsley (b. 1967), American former Major League Baseball relief pitcher
  • Jim Grimsley (b. 1955), American novelist and playwright
  • John Glenn Grimsley (1962-2008), American NFL linebacker
  • Greer Grimsley, American bass-baritone
  • S.W. Grimsley, American technical officer at Wilkes Station in 1963, eponym of the Antarctic Mount Grimsley
  • Ross Albert Grimsley II (b. 1950), American former Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher
  • Jack Grimsley, Australian musical director and composer
  • James Alexander Grimsley Jr. (b. 1921), former Major General of the United States Army


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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  2. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  3. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  4. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  6. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  7. 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).
  8. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  9. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  10. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  11. ...

The Grimsley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Grimsley Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 22 October 2014 at 19:38.

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