Tilly History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The vast movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of England of 1066 brought the Tilly family name to the British Isles. They lived in Dorset. Their name, however, is a reference to Tilley, Normandy, the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. While many of the family went to England, some remained in Normandy. One of the oldest records of the name found there was Haymon de Tellia listed in Normandy in 960. "Robert de Tilly, and the Castle and Barony of Tilly, Normandy" [1] was listed in a roll dated 1180-95.

Early Origins of the Tilly family

The surname Tilly was first found in Dorset where they held a family seat at Mersewood, where Henry Tilley from Tilley near Caen in Calvados acquired the confiscated estates of Geoffrey de Mandevill in 1083. The Domesday Book of 1086 lists Ralph de Tilly as holding lands in Devon in 1083. [2]

"The manor of West-Draynes [in Cornwall] formerly belonged to the family of Carew. It afterwards passed to that of Tillie, and it is now the property of J. Tillie Coryton, Esq." [3]

Early History of the Tilly family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tilly research. Another 48 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1494, 1457, 1458, 1571 and 1620 are included under the topic Early Tilly History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tilly Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Tilley, Tiley and others.

Early Notables of the Tilly family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Celling, or perhaps more accurately Tilly of Selling (d. 1494), derived his name, according to Leland, from the village of Celling, or Selling, some two miles distant from Faversham in Kent: Hasted, however, assigns him to a family settled at Selling near Hythe. He appears to have been a monk of Christ Church...
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tilly Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Tilly family to Ireland

Some of the Tilly family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Tilly migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Tilly or a variant listed above were:

Tilly Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Tilly, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620 [4]
  • Ann Tilly, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620 [4]
  • William Tilly, aged 28, who arrived in New England in 1635 [4]
  • Anthony Tilly, who landed in Virginia in 1654 [4]
  • John Tilly, who landed in Maryland in 1663 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Tilly Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Tilly, who landed in Virginia in 1722 [4]
  • Geo Tilly, who landed in Virginia in 1732 [4]
Tilly Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Julia Tilly, who landed in North America in 1832-1849 [4]
  • Louise Tilly, who arrived in North America in 1832-1849 [4]
  • Marie Tilly, who landed in North America in 1832-1849 [4]
  • Wilhelm Tilly, who arrived in North America in 1832-1849 [4]
  • Henriette Tilly, who arrived in Galveston, Tex in 1846 [4]

Australia Tilly migration to Australia +

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

Tilly Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Henry Tilly, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Forfarshire" in 1848 [5]
  • Agnes Tilly, aged 26, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Constance" [6]
  • Mr. George Tilly, (b. 1848), aged 23, Cornish farm labourer, from Ledgvan, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Dunbar Castle" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 28th September 1871 [7]
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Tilly, (b. 1849), aged 22, Cornish settler, from Ledgvan, Cornwall, UK travelling aboard the ship "Dunbar Castle" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 28th September 1871 [7]

New Zealand Tilly 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:

Tilly Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Charles Tilly, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "George Canning" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 28th November 1857 [8]
  • Mrs. Barbara Tilly, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "George Canning" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 28th November 1857 [8]
  • John Tilly, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Beauty" in 1863
  • Annie Tilly, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Beauty" in 1863
  • Arthur Tilly, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Beauty" in 1863
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Tilly (post 1700) +

  • Louise Audino Tilly (b. 1930), American historian
  • Meg Tilly (b. 1960), born Margaret Elizabeth Chan, an American-born Canadian Academy Award and Golden Globe winning actress, dancer, and author, sister of Jennifer Tilly
  • Jennifer Tilly (b. 1958), born Jennifer Ellen Chan, American Academy Award nominated actress and World Series of Poker Ladies' Event bracelet winner
  • Charles Tilly (1929-2008), American sociologist, political scientist, and historian
  • William Tilly, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1868 [9]
  • Virginia Tilly, American Democrat politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1984 [9]
  • Elinar F. Tilly, American politician, Socialist Labor Candidate for Presidential Elector for Massachusetts, 1956 [9]
  • Jacques Louis François Delaistre Tilly (1749-1822), French Divisional General during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars from 1789 to 1815, his name is inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe [10]
  • Friedrich Georg Tilly, Polish politician, Mayor of Warsaw from 1799 to 1806
  • Jan Tserklses Tilly (1559-1632), Flemish soldier


  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  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. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) FORFARSHIRE 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848Forfarshire.htm
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CONSTANCE 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850Constance.htm
  7. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 19). Emigrants to Australia NSW 1860 -88 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/nsw_passenger_lists_1860_88.pdf
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 19) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  10. ^ Generals Who Served in the French Army during the Period 1789-1815. (Retrieved 2015, October 23) Jacques Tilly. Retrieved from http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/c_frenchgenerals.html


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