Islay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the bearers of the Islay family name are thought have lived in ancient Anglo-Saxon England. They were first found on an island. The surname Islay is derived from the Old French word isle, which means island and has become the modern French word île. The surname Islay belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees. However, the name Islay may also be a patronymic surname derived from the Anglo-Saxon personal names Æl or Æthel.

Early Origins of the Islay family

The surname Islay was first found in Somerset where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Islay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Islay research. Another 220 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1320, 1338, 1688, 1716, 1703, 1679, 1716, 1683, 1745, 1713, 1727, 1727, 1734, 1679, 1735, 1715 and 1721 are included under the topic Early Islay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Islay Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Islay include Eyles, Eeles, Eels, Eylers and others.

Early Notables of the Islay family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir John Eyles, Lord Mayor of London; John Eyles (died 1703), of Great St. Helens, London and Southbroom, near Devizes, Wiltshire, an English politician, Member of the Parliament for Devizes in 1679; Sir Francis Eyles, 1st Baronet (died 1716), Governor of the Bank of England; and his son, Sir John Eyles, 2nd Baronet (1683-1745) of Gidea Hall, Essex, a British financier. He served as a director of the Bank of...
Another 77 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Islay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


New Zealand Islay 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:

Islay Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Islay (Hay), Scottish settler from Glasgow travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Storm Cloud" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 27th April 1860 [1]
  • Mrs. Islay (Hay), Scottish settler from Glasgow travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Storm Cloud" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 27th April 1860 [1]
  • Mr. Islay, Jr. (Hay), Scottish settler from Glasgow travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Storm Cloud" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 27th April 1860 [1]


  1. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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