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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, French


The name Jolley has a history dating as far back as the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. It was a name for a person originating in France, and was associated with the French Huguenots. This nickname surname originated with an early member who was a happy and lively person. But we must look to Normandy where the earliest records of the root name was found. As a variant of Jolliffe, it was found there as early as 1195 with N. Giolif. Three years later Robert Jolif was listed in a census in the same area of Normandy.

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The surname Jolley was first found in Yorkshire where there are numerous variations of the name listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 including: Johannes Yoly, Agnes, servienes Joly Johnan, Henricus Joly; Ricardus Jolyman; Willelmus Jolyman and Johannes Jolyman. This distinguished Huguenot family were granted lands firstly in Staffordshire. Many moved north into Scotland where records there show Alan and Bervy Jolly were granted lands in the county of Edinburgh in 1450.

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 Jolley were recorded, including Jollie, Jolley, Jolly, Jollys and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Jolley research. Another 145 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1541, 1677, 1684, 1629, 1703, 1659 and 1714 are included under the topic Early Jolley History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 135 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Jolley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Jolley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 37 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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 Jolley arrived in North America very early:

Jolley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Anne Jolley, who arrived in Virginia in 1714

Jolley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • George Jolley arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Emma" in 1837
  • Ann Jolley arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Emma" in 1837
  • Christopher Jolley, aged 27, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "William Stevenson"

Jolley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Frederick Jolley, aged 25, a coachman, arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Countess of Kintore" in 1875

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  • John Lawlor Jolley (1840-1926), member of the United States House of Representatives
  • Alvin Jay Jolley, American professional football player and coach
  • Gordon Harold Jolley (b. 1949), former professional American football player
  • Doug Jolley (b. 1979), former American football tight end
  • Isaac Stanford Jolley Jr. (b. 1926), American art director and production designer
  • Dan Jolley, American author
  • Smead Powell Jolley (1902-1991), American outfielder in Major League baseball
  • Isaac Stanford Jolley Sr. (1900-1978), prolific American character actor
  • LeRoy S. Jolley (b. 1937), United States Hall of Fame Thoroughbred horse trainer
  • Steve Jolley (b. 1975), retired American soccer defender

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  1. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  2. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  3. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  4. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  5. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  6. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  7. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  8. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  9. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  10. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  11. ...

The Jolley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Jolley 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 17 November 2015 at 00:30.

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