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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Pillay family come from? What is the English Pillay family crest and coat of arms? When did the Pillay family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Pillay family history?

The Pillay surname is generally thought to be habitational name from either the place name Pillay, in southern Yorkshire; or Pilley in Hampshire. These place names are both thought to derive from the Old English word "pil" or "pile," meaning a "post," and "leah," which refers to a clearing in the woods.

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Pilley, Pillet, Pilly, Pillay and others.

First found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Pilley. The Norman influence of English history dominated after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The language of the courts was French for the next three centuries and the Norman ambience prevailed. The family name was first referenced in the 13th century when they held estates in that shire near Sheffield.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pillay research. Another 201 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1380, 1455, and 1487 are included under the topic Early Pillay History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Pillay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: John Pilley, who arrived in America in 1734; Thomas Pilley, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1834; Mark Pilley, who arrived in Nebraska in 1871; and Harry Pilley, who came to Canada in 1894..

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  • Professor Gerald John Pillay FRSA, DL (b. 1953), South African Vice Chancellor & Rector of Liverpool Hope University
  • Geraldine Pillay (b. 1977), South African sprinter
  • Patrick Georges Pillay, Seychellois politician, former Minister of External Affairs of the Seychelles and Minister of Health
  • Michael Pillay (b. 1955), Seychellois former boxer and a founding member of the Seychelles Olympians Association
  • Barbara Lynne Pillay (b. 1950), New Zealand politician, Member of the New Zealand Parliament for Waitakere (2002-2008)
  • Navanethem "Navi" Pillay (b. 1941), South African jurist, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008-2014)


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  1. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  7. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  9. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  10. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  11. ...

The Pillay Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Pillay Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 14 July 2015 at 07:53.

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