Thornley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Thornley family

The surname Thornley was first found in Durham at Thornley, a village near Peterlee that dates back to 1071-7080 when it was listed as Thornhlawa. The place name literally means "thorn-tree hill or mound" from the Old English words thorn + hlaw. [1] Another Thornley is found in the same county between Crook and Wolsingham, south of Tow Law and finally, Thornley-with-Wheatley is a civil parish in the Borough of Ribble Valley, Lancashire.

Early History of the Thornley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Thornley research. Another 112 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1510, 1600, 1535, 1455 and 1487 are included under the topic Early Thornley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Thornley Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Thornley, Thornleigh, Thornlea, Thornlie and others.

Early Notables of the Thornley family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Thornley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Thornley Ranking

In the United States, the name Thornley is the 16,315th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [2]


United States Thornley migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Thornley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Thornley, who arrived in Maryland in 1678-1679 [3]
Thornley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Ieam Thornley, aged 22, who landed in New York in 1854 [3]

Australia Thornley migration to Australia +

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

Thornley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Thornley, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [4]
  • Thomas Thornley, English convict from Somerset, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [5]
  • Mr. William Thornley, English convict who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Emerald Isle" on 28th June 1843, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • Mr. Thomas Thornley, English convict who was convicted in Exeter, Devon, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Blundell" on 13th March 1844, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [7]
  • John Thornley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1849 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Thornley migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Thornley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • H. Thornley, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Endymion" in 1873

Contemporary Notables of the name Thornley (post 1700) +

  • William H. Thornley, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Rhode Island, 1912 (alternate), 1916 (member, Credentials Committee), 1924 (member, Committee on Rules and Order of Business) [9]
  • Richard Thornley, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Rhode Island, 1900 [9]
  • Mrs. John W. Thornley, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Utah, 1928 [9]
  • Benjamin Thornley, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New York 23rd District, 1960 [9]
  • Beth Thornley, American singer-songwriter
  • Douglas Thornley, American architect at Gould Evans Baum Thornley Architects in San Francisco, California
  • Stew Thornley (b. 1955), American author of books on sports history
  • Kerry Wendell Thornley (1938-1998), American co-founder of Discordianism
  • Peter William Thornley (b. 1946), English former professional wrestler known by his ring name Kendo Nagasaki
  • Irvine Thornley (1883-1955), English footballer
  • ... (Another 10 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. George Thornley, English Assistant Pantry Steward from Wavertree, Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [10]


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1823
  5. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Argyle voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1831 with 251 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/argyle/1831
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th March 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/emerald-isle)
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/blundell
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) "MADAWASKA" 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Madawaska.htm
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, August 18) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  10. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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