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

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

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.

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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.

First found in Lincolnshire where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacKley research. Another 208 words(15 lines of text) covering the year 1086 is included under the topic Early MacKley History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early MacKley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the MacKley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 129 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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

MacKley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Eliz Mackley, who arrived in Virginia in 1712

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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.

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  1. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  3. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  4. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  5. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  6. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  7. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  8. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  9. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  10. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The MacKley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The MacKley 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 23 August 2012 at 13:02.

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