MacKley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name MacKley reached England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The MacKley family lived in Lincolnshire, where they held a family seat at Claye.

Early Origins of the MacKley family

The surname MacKley 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]

Important Dates for the MacKley family

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

MacKley Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname MacKley include Clay, Claye, Cley, Cleye, McClay and others.

Early Notables of the MacKley family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the MacKley family to Ireland

Some of the MacKley 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.

MacKley migration to the United States

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first MacKleys to arrive on North American shores:

MacKley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Mackley, who landed in Maryland in 1675 [3]
MacKley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Eliz Mackley, who arrived in Virginia in 1712 [3]

MacKley migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

MacKley Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • John Mackley, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749

Contemporary Notables of the name MacKley (post 1700)

  • Ruth Elizabeth Mackley, American Democrat politician, Postmaster at Manheim, Pennsylvania, 1936-60 [4]
  • Ian Warren Mackley CMG, CVO (1942-2014), British diplomat, British High Commissioner to Ghana (1996-2000)


  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)
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 7) . Retrieved from
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