Seely History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Seely is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from happy person who had good fortune. It is derive from the Old English word saelig, meaning happy and blessed. [1]

Early listings of the name was typically seen a "sely" and "seli" and was referenced at least twice in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales:

"For sely is that deth, soth for to seyne, That, ofte y- cleped, com'th and endeth peyne"; and

"That Nicholas shal shapen hym a wyle This sely, jalous housbonde to bigyle."

Early Origins of the Seely family

The surname Seely was first found in Somerset where the first listings of name were found as a personal name: Sely atte Bergh; Sely Percy; and Sely Scury. All were found in Kirby's Quest temp. 1 Edward III (during the first year's reign of King Edward III. [2] The one exception of the aforementioned was William Sely.

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 has some interesting entries too: William Sely in Oxfordshire; Egidius Sely in Norfolk; and John Sely in Gloucestershire. [3]

Early History of the Seely family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Seely research. Another 131 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1618, 1621, 1760, 1602, 1668 and 1630 are included under the topic Early Seely History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Seely Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Seely include Cely, Ceeley, Celey, Ceely, Ceiley, Seely, Seeley and others.

Early Notables of the Seely family (pre 1700)

Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Seely Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Seely migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Seely Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robert Seely, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1630 with the Winthrop Fleet
  • William Seely, who settled in Barbados in 1635
  • William Seely, aged 29, who arrived in Barbados in 1635 [4]
  • John Seely, who settled in Virginia in 1654
  • Obadiah Seely, aged 30, who landed in New York in 1679 [4]
Seely Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Cornelius Seely, who landed in Mississippi in 1798 [4]
Seely Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John T Seely, aged 24, who arrived in Key West, Fla in 1839 [4]
  • E Seely, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [4]

Canada Seely migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Seely Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Jacob Seely, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • Jacob Seely, who was on record in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1752
  • Seth Seely, who arrived in New Brunswick in 1783
  • Seth, Seely Jr., who landed in New Brunswick in 1783
  • Mr. Seth Seely U.E. born in Stamford, Connecticut, USA who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1783 passenger aboard the Union Transport, he was a Farmer [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Seely Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William Seely, aged 20, a farmer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Preston" from Sligo, Ireland

Contemporary Notables of the name Seely (post 1700) +

  • Joe Seely, American actor who has starred in films and television
  • Orange Seely (1843-1918), American Mormon pioneer and early settler of Utah
  • Sybil Seely (1902-1984), American silent film actress
  • Jeannie Seely (b. 1940), American country music singer
  • Fred Loring Seely (1871-1942), American newspaperman, chemist, inventor and philanthropist
  • Jonas Seely, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Seneca County, 1823-24 [6]
  • James L. Seely Jr., American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Steuben County 2nd District, 1913-14 [6]
  • J. Seely, American politician, U.S. Attorney for Nevada, 1870-75 [6]
  • H. B. Seely, American Republican politician, Candidate for Iowa State House of Representatives from Kossuth County, 1950 [6]
  • Dave Starr Seely, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Utah 1st District, 2000 [6]
  • ... (Another 10 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook
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