Onley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Onley family

The surname Onley was first found in Buckinghamshire at Olney, a market town and civil parish in the Borough of Milton Keynes. The place dates back to 979 where it was listed as Ollanege. By the time of the Domesday Book, the place name had evolved to Olnei [1] which meant "island, or dry ground in a marsh, of a man called Olla," derived from the Old English personal name + eg. [2]

On November 4th, 1643, Olney was the site of the Battle of Olney Bridge, a skirmish in the First English Civil War. The town has a long history as a lace-making centre, but is best known as the place where the Olney Hymns were written.

John Newton (1725-1807), author of the hymn Amazing Grace was curate of Olney. Some of the family were found in Weston-Underwood in early times. "The church [of Weston-Underwood] is a neat structure, built by Sir John Olney in the 14th century." [3]

Early History of the Onley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Onley research. Another 174 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1272, 1800, 1877, 1600, 1682 and 1635 are included under the topic Early Onley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Onley Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Olney, Onley, Oneley, Ongley and others.

Early Notables of the Onley family (pre 1700)

Another 39 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Onley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Onley migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Onley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Onley, who landed in Maryland in 1633-1641 [4]
  • Edward Onley, who arrived in Virginia in 1648 [4]
  • Mary Onley, who landed in Maryland in 1669 [4]
  • Michael Onley, who arrived in Maryland in 1669 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Onley (post 1700) +

  • Leslie William Onley, Australian weather observer at Mawson Station in 1959, eponym of Onley Hill, Antarctica
  • Ken Onley (1914-1981), Australian rules footballer who played for Hawthorne in 1934
  • Toni Onley OC (1928-2004), Manx-born, Canadian painter noted for his landscapes and abstract works
  • David Charles Onley CM OOnt (b. 1950), Canadian television journalist and diplomat, the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario (2007-2014)


  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ 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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