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Wholley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms



The distinguished surname Wholley emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Flemish surnames of this type frequently are prefixed by de la or de le, which mean of the or from the. The Wholley family originally lived near a prominent group of holly shrubs. The surname Wholley is derived from the Old English words holi, holie, and holin, which in turn come from the Old English words holegn and holen, which mean holly. The surname Wholley belongs to the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees.

Early Origins of the Wholley family


The surname Wholley was first found in Norfolk where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Early History of the Wholley family


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wholley research.
Another 155 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1602, 1686 and 1679 are included under the topic Early Wholley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wholley Spelling Variations


Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Holly, Holley, Hollie and others.

Early Notables of the Wholley family (pre 1700)


Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wholley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Wholley family to Ireland


Some of the Wholley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 145 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Wholley family to the New World and Oceana


Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Wholley or a variant listed above: John Holly settled in Virginia in 1650; along with Tyonll in Virginia in 1665; Elizabeth Holly settled in New England in 1635; Lionel Holley settled in Virginia in 1642.

Contemporary Notables of the name Wholley (post 1700)


  • Michael C. Wholley (b. 1944), American former General Counsel for NASA and a retired United States Marine Corps Brigadier General

Wholley Family Crest Products



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