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The history of the Shelly family name begins after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They lived in Sussex having derived from the Old English word shelf, meaning a wooded clearing on a ledge or plateau, and indicates that the original bearer lived near such a landmark. Following the Norman line "genealogists assert that the Sheeleys 'came out of France with William the Conqueror.' Seulle, Shevels, or Sheuile, is found in the lists called the Roll of Battel Abbey." [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.


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The surname Shelly was first found in Sussex where "there is no doubt of the antiquity of the house of Shelley, the accounts of the earlier descents of the family are very scanty. Originally of the county of Huntingdon, [now Cambridgeshire] the Shelleys are said to have removed into this county at a very early period." [2]CITATION[CLOSE]
Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
The earliest record of the name was John and Thomas Shelley who followed the fortunes of Richard II and were subsequently beheaded in the first year of Henry IV's rule. The remaining brother who was not connected, retained his possessions. [2]CITATION[CLOSE]
Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Shelly, Shelley and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shelly research. Another 307 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1297, 1567, 1644, 1792 and 1822 are included under the topic Early Shelly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Shelly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Shelly name or one of its variants:

Shelly Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Henry Shelly, who arrived in Bermuda in 1609-1610
  • Roger Shelly, who arrived in Virginia in 1637
  • Edward Shelly, who landed in Maryland in 1640-1648
  • Mathew Shelly, who arrived in Maryland in 1649-1652
  • Edw Shelly, who arrived in Virginia in 1650
  • ...

Shelly Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Christian Shelly, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1743
  • Abraham Shelly, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1743

Shelly Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • James Shelly, aged 25, arrived in Missouri in 1845
  • Malick Shelly, aged 30, landed in Missouri in 1849
  • John Shelly, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Mrs. Shelly, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Andy Shelly, aged 28, landed in New York in 1854
  • ...

Shelly Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Joanna Shelly, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1830
  • Ezra Shelly, who arrived in Canada in 1838

Shelly Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Margaret Shelly, aged 31, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Lysander"

Shelly Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Samuel Shelly landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1843
  • George Shelly, aged 32, a farm labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1878
  • Ann Shelly, aged 31, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1878
  • George Shelly, aged 11, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1878
  • Rose Shelly, aged 9, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1878
  • ...
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  • Adrienne Shelly (1966-2006), American actress, director, and screenwriter
  • Ida Shelly (b. 1935), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 2004
  • Tony Shelly, New Zealand, race car (Formula One) driver
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Fey e fidalgia
Motto Translation: Faith and fidelity

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Citations



  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.

Other References

  1. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  2. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  3. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  7. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  8. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  10. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  11. ...

The Shelly Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Shelly 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 18 July 2016 at 11:23.

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