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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The ancestors of the name Oakley date back to the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Oakley family lived in one of the various settlements named Oakley throughout England, or in Oakley Street in Gloucestershire, Oakleigh in Kent, or Ockley in Surrey. The surname Oakley belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.


The surname Oakley was first found in Shropshire where this "ancient family descended from Philip, who is the reign of Henry III., was Lord of Oakley in the parish of Bishop's Castle, from whence he assumed his name, and which has ever since been the inheritance of his descendants." [1] [2] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list: Walter de Oclee in Wiltshire; Godwin de Ocle in Suffolk; and Robert de Ocle in Oxfordshire. The Feet if Fins of 1415, list Thomas Acle or Ocle as Sheriff of Norwich at that time. [3]

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Oakley are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Oakley include: Oakley, Oakeley, Oakly, Okly, Ockley and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Oakley research. Another 281 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1500, 1327, 1362, 1380, 1541, 1660, 1653, 1624, 1635, 1695, 1659, 1660, 1678 and 1720 are included under the topic Early Oakley History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 119 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Oakley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Oakley or a variant listed above:

Oakley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • George Oakley, who came to Virginia in 1654
  • Francis Oakley, who arrived in Barbados in 1669
  • John Oakley, who arrived in Maryland in 1670

Oakley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Alice Oakley, who settled in Virginia in 1729

Oakley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Oakley, aged 43, landed in Maryland in 1812
  • George Oakley, who arrived in New York in 1846
  • B Oakley, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Henry Oakley, aged 19, landed in New York in 1854
  • William Oakley, aged 30, arrived in New York, NY in 1855

Oakley Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Arthur Oakley, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1840
  • Alice Oakley, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1843

Oakley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Edward Oakley, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on September 21, 1826, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Josiah Oakley, aged 40, a labourer, arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Buffalo" in 1836
  • Betty Oakley, aged 30, arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Buffalo" in 1836
  • Sarah Oakley, aged 28, arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Buffalo" in 1836
  • Mary Oakley, aged above 15, arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Buffalo" in 1836

Oakley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • J. Oakley arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Beauty" in 1863
  • Henry William Oakley, aged 19, a labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "La Hogue" in 1874
  • David Oakley, aged 18, arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1874
  • Sarah Oakley, aged 21, a dairymaid, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oxford" in 1874


  • William Oakley (b. 1860), American gunner's mate second class serving in the United States Navy during the Spanish-American War, recipient of the Medal of Honor for bravery
  • Peter H. Oakley (b. 1949), American professional PGA golfer
  • David Oakley (1945-2006), American professional golfer
  • Bill Oakley (b. 1966), American television writer, best known for his work on The Simpsons
  • Annie Oakley (1860-1926), born Phoebe Orlando Ann Mosey, American sharpshooter and exhibition shooter, star of Buffalo Bill's Wild West
  • Berry Oakley (1948-1972), American musician, member of The Allman Brothers Band
  • Robert Bigger Oakley (b. 1934), American Foreign Service officer, U.S. Ambassador to Zaire (1979-82), Somalia (1982) and Pakistan (1988-91)
  • Laura Oakley (1879-1957), American actress
  • Thomas Jackson Oakley (1783-1857), American politician, U.S. Representative from New York (1813-15, 1827-28) and superior court judge in New York (1828-47)
  • Francis Christopher Oakley (b. 1931), English-American educator and historian



  • The Descendants of William & Mary Simms: England To Illinois and Beyond by Vivian York Simms.

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: Non timeo sed caveo
Motto Translation: I do not fear, but am careful.


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  1. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. 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)

Other References

  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  4. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  6. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  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. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  9. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  10. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  11. ...

The Oakley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Oakley 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 16 April 2016 at 10:14.

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