An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
The surname Offaly was first found in Hertfordshire at Offley, a civil parish that includes the main village Great Offley. Little Offley is a small hamlet lying 1½ miles north-west of Great Offley. Collectively, this ancient Saxon settlement dates back to 944-6 when it was first listed as Offanlege.  By the Domesday Book of 1086, the villages were known as Offelei.  The place name literally means "woodland clearing of a man called Offa," from the Old English personal name + "leah."  Another source claims "this place received its name from King Offa (died 796), who is said to have died here." 
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 Offaly family name include Offley, Offlie, Offly, Offaly, Offally, Offalie and others.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Offaly research. Another 177 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1716, 1666, 1716, 1582, 1547, 1556, 1649, 1708, 1742 and 1829 are included under the topic Early Offaly History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 323 words (23 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Offaly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
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 Offaly surname or a spelling variation of the name include: Daniel and David Offley who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1635; John H. Offley settled in Baltimore Maryland in 1823.
The Offaly Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Offaly 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 1 December 2015 at 14:56.