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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, French

Where did the English Jolly family come from? What is the English Jolly family crest and coat of arms? When did the Jolly family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Jolly family history?

The ancient Normans that arrived in England following the Conquest of 1066 are the initial ancestors from which the many generations of the Jolly family have grown. The name Jolly was given to a member of the family who was 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 English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Jolly has been recorded under many different variations, including Jollie, Jolley, Jolly, Jollys and others.

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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Jolly 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 Jolly 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 Jolly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Jolly 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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To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Jollys were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Jolly Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Joseph Jolly, who arrived in Virginia in 1633
  • Mary Jolly, aged 21, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Mary Jolly, aged 21, settled in Virginia in 1635
  • John Jolly settled in Virginia in 1636
  • Margery Jolly settled in Virginia in 1636


Jolly Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Francois Jolly, aged 28, arrived in Louisiana in 1719
  • James Jolly, aged 40, settled in Maryland in 1775

Jolly Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Samuel Jolly, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1806
  • Hugh Jolly, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1809
  • Patterson Jolly, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • Job Henry Jolly, aged 21, landed in New York in 1812
  • Robert Jolly, who landed in New York, NY in 1816


Jolly Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • John Jolly, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1774

Jolly Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Thomas Jolly, a carpenter, arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Richard Jolly arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Recovery" in 1839
  • Charlotte Ellie Jolly arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Recovery" in 1839
  • Selina Jolly arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Recovery" in 1839
  • Francis Jolly arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Recovery" in 1839


Jolly Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Thomas Jolly arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Asterope" in 1864

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  • Allison Jolly (b. 1956), American Olympic gold medalist sailor
  • Alison Jolly (1937-2014), American primatologist, known for her studies of lemur biology
  • General Sir Alan Jolly GCB CBE DSO (1910-1977), English General, former Quartermaster-General to the Forces
  • Robert Malcolm Jolly CBE, Air Commodore
  • Norman William Jolly (1882-1954), awarded the first South Australian Rhodes Scholarship
  • Mark Jolly, Australian Dental Surgeon and Educator, McGaughey Professor of Oral Medicine and Oral Surgery, University of Sydney, Australia
  • Wayne Travis Jolly, Geologist and Educator, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario
  • Friedrich Jolly (1844-1904), German neurologist and psychiatrist, eponym of Jolly's Test


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  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  3. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  4. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  5. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  6. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  7. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  8. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  9. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  10. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  11. ...

The Jolly Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Jolly 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 22 February 2015 at 12:30.

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