Owsley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Owsley surname is thought to have been a habitational name, from a now lost place name in Southern England, perhaps from the name of the river name Ouse and the Old English "le-ah," meaning a "wood."

Early Origins of the Owsley family

The surname Owsley was first found in Salop (Shropshire) where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. The Saxon influence of English history diminished after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The language of the courts was French for the next three centuries and the Norman ambience prevailed. But Saxon surnames survived and the family name was first referenced in the year 1300 when they held in that shire.

Early History of the Owsley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Owsley research. Another 122 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1455, 1487, 1570, 1624, and 1640 are included under the topic Early Owsley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Owsley Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Ousely, Ouseley, Owsley, Owseley, Oosely, Osly, Osley, Oursley, Housley and many more.

Early Notables of the Owsley family (pre 1700)

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


United States Owsley migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Owsley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Edward Owsley, who arrived in Virginia in 1703 [1]
Owsley Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Charles Henry Owsley, aged 59, who arrived in America, in 1906
  • H. B. Owsley, aged 22, who arrived in America, in 1907
  • Caroline Owsley, aged 7, who arrived in America, in 1908
  • Clara B. Owsley, aged 49, who arrived in America, in 1908
  • Mrs Frederic Owsley, aged 45, who arrived in America, in 1909
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Owsley (post 1700) +

  • William F. Owsley, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Kentucky, 1884 [2]
  • William Owsley (1782-1862), American politician, Member of Kentucky State House of Representatives, 1809; Member of Kentucky State Senate, 1832; Secretary of State of Kentucky, 1835-36; Governor of Kentucky, 1844-48 [2]
  • Thomas M. Owsley, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Kentucky, 1920 [2]
  • D. Ray Owsley, American Republican politician, Hickory County Clerk, 1919-27; Member of Missouri State House of Representatives from Hickory County, 1927-28 [2]
  • Bryan Young Owsley (1798-1849), American politician, Representative from Kentucky 4th District, 1841-43 [2]
  • William Owsley (1782-1862), American jurist and politician, associate justice on the Kentucky Court of Appeals, 16th Governor of Kentucky (1844-1848), 23rd Secretary of State of Kentucky (1835-1836)
  • Monroe Owsley (1900-1937), American stage and film actor who died at the age of 36 from a heart attack following a car accident
  • Frank Lawrence Owsley (1890-1956), American historian who taught at Vanderbilt University
  • Douglas W. Owsley Ph.D. (b. 1951), American forensic anthropologist and archeologist, Division Head of Physical Anthropology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History
  • Alvin Mansfield Owsley (1888-1967), American diplomat, lawyer, and soldier, United States Ambassador to Romania (1933-1935), United States Ambassador to Ireland (1935-1937), United States Ambassador to Denmark (1937-1937)

USS Arizona
  • Mr. Thomas Lea Owsley, American Ship's Cook Second Class from Idaho, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [3]


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 26) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  3. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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