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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Today's generation of the Hunley family bears a name that was brought to England by the migration wave that was started by the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Hunley family 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. Time has confused the two derivations, and etymologists now disagree on which is appropriate in a given case.


The surname Hunley was first found in Hampshire where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Hunley include Handley, Hanley, Handeley, Hanly and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hunley research. Another 207 words (15 lines of text) covering the year 1086 is included under the topic Early Hunley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


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


Some of the Hunley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 102 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Hunleys to arrive on North American shores:

Hunley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Dennis Hunley, who landed in Arkansas in 1846

Hunley Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Mary Hunley, aged 51, who emigrated to the United States, in 1906
  • Richard Hunley, aged 42, who landed in America from Schull, Ireland, in 1908
  • Alfred S. Hunley, aged 26, who settled in America, in 1909
  • Lucy Hunley, aged 35, who landed in America, in 1909
  • Julia Hunley, aged 24, who landed in America from Tullig, Ireland, in 1910
  • ...

  • Randall Hunley, American gospel musician
  • Ricky Hunley (b. 1961), American football player
  • Leann Hunley (b. 1955), American actor
  • Con Hunley (b. 1945), American country music singer
  • Horace Lawson Hunley (1823-1863), American marine engineer, eponym of the CSS H. L. Hunley, an American Civil war submarine
  • Wilma Helen Hunley (b. 1920), former Canadian politician and the first woman to become lieutenant-governor of Alberta. She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1992
  • Helen Hunley (b. 1920), Canadian politician

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    Other References

    1. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
    2. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
    3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
    4. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
    5. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
    6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
    7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
    8. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
    9. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
    10. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    11. ...

    The Hunley Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Hunley 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 16 May 2013 at 13:41.

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