Overley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Overley surname is generally thought to be a habitational name, taken on from one of several places named Over, or Ower in Britain, such as Over in Cambridgeshire, in Cheshire and in Derbyshire. These place names are derived from the Old English "ofer," meaning "seashore," or "riverbank."

Early Origins of the Overley family

The surname Overley was first found in Cheshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book, [1] indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Over, held by Earl Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester and the northwest, who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086.

Early History of the Overley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Overley research. Another 89 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1275 and 1524 are included under the topic Early Overley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Overley Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: over, overs and others.

Early Notables of the Overley family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Overley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Overley family

Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: John Over, a bonded passenger who came to Barbados in 1672; Edward and Elizabeth Ower, who arrived in Virginia in 1666; Andrew Over, who arrived in Maryland in 1681.



  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)


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