Kley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Kley is a name that was carried to England in the great wave of migration from Normandy following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Kley family lived in Lincolnshire, where they held a family seat at Claye.

Early Origins of the Kley family

The surname Kley was first found in Lincolnshire where the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list William del Cley and Robert del Clay as holding lands there at that time. The same rolls also listed Alicia in le Clay, Huntingdonshire. [1]

Later, in Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included: Agnes del Clay; Johannes del Clay; and Adam del Clay, Howdenshire. [1]

"Clay has long been a Notts surname. It was represented in the parish of Hayton in the time of Henry VII. Hercules Clay was a mayor of Newark in the reign of Charles I. (S.), and Clay is still a Newark name. The Clays of Southwell during last century carried their pedigree back 200 years, and their name is yet in the town. Six centuries ago Clay was a common name in the east of England, especially in Essex, Lincolnshire, Hunts, Cambridgeshire, and Beds. It is still well established in Lincolnshire, as well as in Notts and Derbyshire." [2]

Early History of the Kley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kley research. Another 78 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1457 and 1537 are included under the topic Early Kley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kley Spelling Variations

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 Kley were recorded, including Clay, Claye, Cley, Cleye, McClay and others.

Early Notables of the Kley family (pre 1700)

Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Kley family to Ireland

Some of the Kley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Kley migration to the United States +

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 Kley arrived in North America very early:

Kley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hans Nichall Kley, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1739 [3]
  • Susanna Maria Kley, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1748 [3]
  • Hans Jurg Kley, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1753 [3]
Kley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Gerrit Van Kley, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1847 [3]
  • Friedrich Kley, who landed in America in 1861 [3]
  • Johann Christian Kley, who landed in Brazil in 1861 [3]
  • Karoline Kley, who arrived in Brazil in 1861 [3]
  • Ludwig Kley, who landed in New York in 1861 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Kley Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Per orbem
Motto Translation: Through the world.


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


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