Kearlay is a name of ancient Anglo-Saxon
origin and comes from the family once having lived in the settlement of Kearsley in Lancashire
. The surname Kearlay belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation
names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.
Early Origins of the Kearlay family
The surname Kearlay was first found in Lancashire
at Kearsley, now part of Greater Manchester. The first records of the place were found in 1187 when it was spelt Cherselawe and a few years later as Kereleie (c.
1220. ) The name literally means "clearing where cress grows" having derived from the Old English words caerse + leah. CITATION[CLOSE]
Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
There is another Kearsley, a township in the parish of Stamfordham, in Northumberland
, but this township has remained rather small in comparison as a census in the late 1800s listed only 11 inhabitants, while the former township in Lancashire
had 3,436 inhabitants in the same census.
Early History of the Kearlay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kearlay research.Another 173 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 121 and 1210 are included under the topic Early Kearlay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Kearlay Spelling Variations
Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations
were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Kearlay family name include Kearsley, Kearsey, Keasley, Kersley and others.
Early Notables of the Kearlay family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Kearlay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Kearlay family to the New World and Oceana
For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland
, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Kearlay surname or a spelling variation of the name include: James Kearsley settled in Philadelphia in 1859.