Show ContentsPelley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Pelley emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. One of the most common classes of surname is the patronymic surname, which was usually derived from the first name of the person's father. Flemish surnames of this type are often characterized by the diminutive suffix -kin, which became very frequent in England during the 14th century. The surname Pelley is derived from a pet form of the personal name Peter.

Early Origins of the Pelley family

The surname Pelley was first found in Lincolnshire where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the census rolls taken by the ancient Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Early History of the Pelley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pelley research. Another 83 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1608, 1611, 1634, 1654, 1658, 1662, 1669, 1685, 1698, 1777 and 1852 are included under the topic Early Pelley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pelley Spelling Variations

Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Pell, Pelle, Pel, Pels, Pells, Pelles and others.

Early Notables of the Pelley family

Prominent in the family at this time was Sir John Henry Pelly, 1st Baronet Pelly (1777-1852) Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), for three decades, Governor of the Bank of England.William Pell (1634-1698), was an English nonconformist minister, ejected in 1662 and John Pell (1611-1685) was an English mathematician from Southwick in Sussex. From 1654 to 1658 Pell...
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pelley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Pelley Ranking

In the United States, the name Pelley is the 15,086th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1] However, in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Pelley is ranked the 128th most popular surname with an estimated 285 people with that name. [2]

United States Pelley migration to the United States +

A look at the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Pelley:

Pelley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Eliz. Pelley, aged 30, who landed in America from Liverpool in 1892
  • Wm. Pelley, aged 32, who landed in America from Liverpool in 1892
  • Mrs. M. Pelley, aged 37, who immigrated to America from London, in 1894
  • Edward L. Pelley, aged 42, who landed in America, in 1895
  • Julia Pelley, aged 21, who settled in America, in 1896
Pelley Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Laurence Pelley, aged 31, who immigrated to the United States, in 1904
  • Thomas Pelley, aged 60, who landed in America, in 1904
  • Wallace Pelley, aged 20, who immigrated to the United States, in 1918
  • Mozes Pelley, aged 48, who landed in America, in 1918
  • Albert Pelley, aged 16, who immigrated to America, in 1921

Canada Pelley migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Pelley Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Alexander John Pelley, aged 28, who immigrated to St. John's, Newfoundland in 1904
  • John Pelley, aged 25, who settled in Beaverton, Newfoundland, in 1918
  • Edwin Pelley, aged 34, who landed in St Johns, Newfoundland in 1920
  • Dora Pelley, aged 39, who landed in Trinity, Newfoundland in 1924

Contemporary Notables of the name Pelley (post 1700) +

  • William Dudley Pelley (1890-1965), United States presidential candidate
  • Scott Pelley (b. 1957), American television journalist with the CBS magazine 60 Minutes
  • Rod Pelley (b. 1984), Canadian NHL ice hockey forward

Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. John  Pelley (1867-1917), Canadian resident from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) [3]

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  3. Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from on Facebook