Heley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

While many Irish names are quite familiar to us, their original Gaelic forms are often forgotten and mysterious. The original Gaelic form of the name Heley is O hEalaighthe, which is derived from the word "ealadhach," which means "ingenious." Another Gaelic form of the surname is O hEilidhe, which is derived from the word "eilidhe," which means "claimant."

Early Origins of the Heley family

The surname Heley was first found in County Sligo (Irish: Sligeach), in the province of Connacht in Northwestern Ireland, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

Important Dates for the Heley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Heley research. Another 161 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1309, 1800, 1724, 1794, 1656, 1741, 1579, 1701, 1690 and 1695 are included under the topic Early Heley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Heley Spelling Variations

The scribes and church officials of the Middle Ages who recorded names in official documents spelled the names as they sounded. This led to the problem of one name being recorded under several different variations and thus resembling more than one person. Among the many spelling variations of the surname Heley that are preserved in archival documents of this era include Haly, Haley, Haily, Hely, Healy, Healey, O'Healey, O'Haly and many more.

Early Notables of the Heley family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name at this time was Edmond (Edmund) Halley, FRS (1656-1741), an English astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist who is best known for computing the orbit of the eponymous Halley's Comet. He was born in Haggerston, in east London, but his family came from Derbyshire. Patrick O'Healy, was a Franciscan Bishop of Mayo...
Another 56 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Heley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Heley migration to the United States

Many Irish families did not fare so well within the English-ruled Ireland. Besides racial and religious discrimination, many families were renting out small tracts of farmland from absentee landowners at often unreasonable rates. Beginning in the late 18th century, moderately well off Irish families decided to emigrate to British North America or the United States in order to own their own plot of land. A radical change occurred in the 1840s, however, with the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. Up to this point, the island's population had been increasing rapidly and a steady demand over the years for grain crops had depleted soil. Two failed crops and one poor one caused widespread disease and starvation. Thousands boarded ships looking for opportunities elsewhere. North America welcomed them as a source of cheap labor required for the many industrial and infrastructure projects underway, and as a means to quickly occupy the western regions. Research into immigration and passenger ship lists indicates that people bearing the name Heley were among the earliest settlers to arrive in North America:

Heley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Elinor Heley, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [1]

Heley 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:

Heley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Hannah Heley, aged 20, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Westminster" in 1843

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Citations

  1. ^ 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)
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