Woodley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought much change to the island nation, including many immigrants with new names. Among these immigrants were the ancestors of the Woodley family, who lived in Devon, at Woodleigh, a village, parish and former manor located in the South Hams region. The name is derived from "wood" and the Old English "leah" meaning a "clearing in a forest", collectively a "clearing in the wood." [1] The place name dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was known as Odelie. [2]

Early Origins of the Woodley family

The surname Woodley was first found in Devon, where the family held a seat at Woodleigh, after the Norman Conquest of 1066. [3] [4] They were conjecturally descended from Robet de Aumaly, who held the fishery of Woodleigh which included 15 cattle and 100 sheep. [2]

It is situated above Kingsbridge estuary. Robert was descended from the Counts of Aumaly, one of the largest land holding barons in Normandy. [5]

Early History of the Woodley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Woodley research. Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Woodley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Woodley Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Woodley were recorded, including Woodley, Woodleigh, Woodlief and others.

Early Notables of the Woodley family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Woodley family to Ireland

Some of the Woodley 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 Woodley migration to the United States +

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Woodley arrived in North America very early:

Woodley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ann Woodley, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 [6]
  • Thomas Woodley who settled in Barbados in 1663
  • William Woodley, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1683 [6]
Woodley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Andrew Woodley, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [6]
  • Benjamin and William Woodley, who arrived in New England in 1772
Woodley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Woodley, who arrived in New York in 1822 [6]
  • E B Woodley, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [6]
Woodley Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Ada Woodley, aged 31, who landed in America from Brighton, England, in 1907
  • Christian Woodley, aged 2, who landed in America from Bermuda, in 1907
  • Denis Woodley, aged 3, who immigrated to the United States from Brighton, England, in 1907
  • George Wm. Woodley, aged 35, who settled in America from Bristol, England, in 1907
  • Thomas Woodley, aged 9, who immigrated to America from Castledermot, Ireland, in 1907
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Woodley migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Woodley Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. George Woodley U.E., (Woodlye) who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 [7]
  • Mr. George Woodley Sr., U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [7]
Woodley Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Harold G. Woodley, aged 34, who immigrated to Calgary, Canada, in 1908
  • Ada Woodley, aged 40, who settled in Belleville, Canada, in 1916
  • Ada Woodley, aged 40, who settled in Ontario, Canada, in 1916
  • George Woodley, aged 43, who immigrated to Belleville, Canada, in 1916
  • George Woodley, aged 43, who immigrated to Ontario, Canada, in 1916

Australia Woodley migration to Australia +

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

Woodley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Woodley, English convict from Southampton, who was transported aboard the "Andromeda" on November 13, 1832, settling in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Sarah Ann Woodley, aged 19, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Storm Cloud"

New Zealand Woodley 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:

Woodley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Woodley, (b. 1854), aged 23, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Marlborough" arriving in Invercargill, South Island, New Zealand on 20th January 1877 [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Woodley (post 1700) +

  • Shailene Diann Woodley (b. 1991), American Golden Globe nominated actress, known for her roles in The Secret Life of the American Teenager (2008) and The Descendants (2011)
  • Anita Woodley, American journalist, actress, playwright, literary teaching artist from Oakland, California
  • LaMarr Dewayne Woodley (b. 1984), American NFL football linebacker for Pittsburgh Steelers (2007–2013), Oakland Raiders (2014) and the Arizona Cardinals (2015)
  • David Eugene Woodley (1958-2003), American NFL football quarterback for the Miami Dolphins (1980–1983), and the Pittsburgh Steelers (1984–1985)
  • John Paul Woodley Jr., United States Assistant Secretary of the Army
  • Dan Woodley (b. 1967), retired American professional ice hockey player
  • Tyron Woodley (b. 1982), American former amateur wrestler
  • Victor Robert "Vic" Woodley (1910-1978), English football goalkeeper for the England National Team (1937-1939)
  • George Woodley (1786-1846), English poet and divine, born at Dartmouth, the son of "Richard Woodley, a man of humble position" [10]
  • Derek George Woodley (1942-2002), English former professional footballer
  • ... (Another 10 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


Suggested Readings for the name Woodley +

  • 3926 "Deep East Texas Folk: The Tillers, Crenshaws, Woodleys, Goldens, and Other Related Families of Panola and Harrison Counties" by Terry G. Jordan.

  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  4. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 27) Andromeda voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1832 with 186 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/andromeda/1832
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 13 Feb. 2019


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