Show ContentsParsley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Parsley surname comes from the medieval family name Passelewe, which is derived from the Old French words "passe," meaning "to pass," and "l'ewe," or "the water;" thus it was likely originally a nickname for a ferry operator or a merchant, who often crossed the water. [1] It may also have been used as a topographic name for someone who lived on the opposite side of a watercourse from the main settlement.

Another source believes the was " belonging to Parslow (? Parsloes, Essex) [Old English hlaew, a (burial) mound, hill: without the evidence of early forms of the name nothing definite can be said as to the origin of the first element, which may, represent the Anglo-Saxon personal name Pœghere." [2]

And another source notes the name may be from "Passelewe, from Pasloup, Etampes, Isle of France." [3]

Early Origins of the Parsley family

The surname Parsley was first found in Berkshire, where Radulfus Passaqua is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. [4] Later, Ralph Passelewa was listed at Bury St Emunds, Suffolk 1104-1106. Back in Berkshire, Hmo passelowe was listed there in the Curia Regis Rolls of 1194. Later, we found Edmund Passeleye recorded in the Assize Rolls for Kent in 1314. Simon Passelegh (Passelewe) was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Essex in 1327 and much later Nycholas Passloo was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Suffolk in 1524. [5]

The Domesday tenant's name survives in Drayton Parslow, Buckinhamshire and at Parsloes in Dagenham, Essex. Other spellings include: Passelewesmede 1390, Pashlewes 1456, Parslo(w)es 1609, 1634. [5]

Early History of the Parsley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Parsley research. Another 136 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1194, 1273, 1327, 1439, 1450, 1511, 1524, 1585, 1637, 1794 and 1802 are included under the topic Early Parsley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Parsley Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Parslow, Perslow, Parslew, Farslew, Parsley, Paslow, Paslie, Pasley, Pashley, Pashler, Paslew, Pashley, Pasley, Passley, Pashlie, Paslie, Passlie, Parsloe, Paslew, Passwater, Passleigh, Paslegh, Parslowe, Passlewmede, Passlaw and many more.

Early Notables of the Parsley family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • Osbert Parsley (c. 1511-1585), English composer and chorister...
  • From a boy chorister at Norwich Cathedral, Parsley worked there throughout his musical career...
  • Parsley died in Norwich in 1585 and was buried in Norwich Cathedral...

Parsley Ranking

In the United States, the name Parsley is the 5,771st most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [6]


United States Parsley migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Parsley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Parsley, who arrived in Virginia in 1662
  • Anthony Parsley, who landed in Maryland in 1673 [7]
  • John Parsley, who landed in Maryland in 1674 [7]
  • Elizabeth Parsley, who arrived in Maryland in 1679 [7]
  • Anthony and Elizabeth Parsley, who settled in Maryland in 1679
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Parsley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Redmond Parsley, who landed in Virginia in 1705 [7]
  • Mary Parsley, who settled in Annapolis, Maryland in 1751
  • Henry Parsley, who settled in Annapolis, Maryland in 1752

Canada Parsley migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Parsley Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Jonathan Parsley, who arrived in Canada in 1841

Australia Parsley migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Parsley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Owen Parsley, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on August 08, 1849, settling in Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Parsley (post 1700) +

  • Jamie Parsley (b. 1969), American poet and Episcopalian priest
  • Cliff Parsley (b. 1954), former punter in the National Football League
  • Lea Ann Parsley (b. 1968), retired American skeleton racer
  • Rodney Lee Parsley (b. 1957), prominent American Christian minister, author, television host and evangelist
  • The Right Reverend Henry Nutt Parsley (b. 1948), American Episcopal Bishop of Alabama, and Chancellor of the University of the South, in Tennessee
  • Neil Robert Parsley (b. 1966), former professional footballer
  • Ian James Parsley (b. 1977), Northern Irish businessman and politician


  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  5. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?". NameCensus.com, https://namecensus.com/last-names/
  7. 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)
  8. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 17) Adelaide voyage to Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia in 1849 with 303 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/adelaide/1849


Houseofnames.com on Facebook