Handley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought much change to the island nation, including many immigrants with new names. Among these immigrants were the ancestors of the Handley family, who lived in Handley, Hampshire. The name was local in nature, and was originally derived from the Old English words heah, which meant high, and leah, which meant wood. Another derivation indicates that the name is a corruption of the Norman place-name Andeli which was brought over after the Conquest in 1066. [1] And yet another source claims the name was derived from Hanley, parishes in Staffordshire, Worcestershire, and Lincolnshire. [2]

Early Origins of the Handley family

The surname Handley was first found in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 in various counties and shires: Tristram de Hanle in Suffolk; William de Hanleye Salop (Shropshire); and Warin de Hannclaye in Lincolnshire. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 list: Robertus de Hannclay; Peter de Hanlay; and Willelmus de Hanlay. [2]

Early History of the Handley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Handley research. Another 127 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1605, 1611 and 1619 are included under the topic Early Handley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Handley Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Handley were recorded, including Handley, Hanley, Handeley, Hanly and others.

Early Notables of the Handley family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Handley family to Ireland

Some of the Handley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 31 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Handley migration to the United States +

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Handley arrived in North America very early:

Handley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robert Handley, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Robert Handley, aged 19, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [3]
  • William Handley, who settled in Virginia in 1648
  • Deborah Handley, who landed in Maryland in 1650 [3]
Handley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Handley, who arrived in New England in 1756 [3]
  • Jane Handley, who settled in Maryland in 1775
Handley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Handley, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1817 [3]
  • Patrick Ward Handley, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1847 [3]
  • Daniel Handley, who arrived in St Clair County, Rhode Island in 1868 [3]
  • Alex Handley, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1872 [3]

Canada Handley migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Handley Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Richard Handley, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1821

Australia Handley migration to Australia +

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

Handley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Handley, English convict who was convicted in Stafford, Staffordshire, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Camden" on 21st September 1832, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [4]
  • Martin Handley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Helen Thompson" in 1840 [5]
  • Mr. Benjamin Handley, British Convict who was convicted in London, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Asiatic" on 26th May 1843, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • Sarah A. Handley, aged 18, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Mallard" [7]

New Zealand Handley 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:

Handley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Handley, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Martha Ridgway
  • John Handley, aged 30, a millwright, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842
  • Martha Handley, aged 30, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842
  • Thomas Handley, aged 8, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842
  • William Handley, aged 6, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Handley (post 1700) +

  • Louis Handley (1874-1950), American Olympic gold medalist for swimming at the 1904 Summer Games
  • Lee Handley (1913-1970), American Major League Baseball player
  • George Handley (1752-1793), American politician, 1st US governor of Georgia from 1788-1789
  • Margie Handley (b. 1940), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 2004 [8]
  • Laurence A. Handley, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Indiana 6th District, 1924; Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Indiana, 1932 [8]
  • John R. Handley, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from North Carolina, 1916, 1928, 1932 [8]
  • John J. Handley, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for New York State Senate 51st District, 1938 [8]
  • J. H. Handley, American politician, Mayor of Lake Charles, Louisiana, 1937 [8]
  • Harold Willis Handley (1909-1972), American Republican politician, Governor of Indiana, 1957-61; Candidate for U.S. Senator from Indiana, 1958; Delegate to Republican National Convention from Indiana, 1960 [8]
  • George Handley (1752-1793), American politician, Delegate to Georgia convention to ratify U.S. constitution, 1788; Governor of Georgia, 1788-89; Richmond County Sheriff, 1790-93 [8]
  • ... (Another 12 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Arthur M Handley, British Mechanician 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [9]


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 2nd December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/camden
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HELEN THOMPSON 1840. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840HelenThompson.gif
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asiatic
  7. ^ South Australian Register Thursday 26th April 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Mallard 1855. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/mallard1855.shtml
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 9) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  9. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html


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