Zeally History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The surname Zeally is derived from a nickname in the Old French. A broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, nickname surnames referred to a characteristic of the first person who used the name. They can describe the bearer's favored style of clothing, appearance, habits, or character.
In the pre-Christian era, many pagan gods and demi-gods were believed to be a mixture of animals and humans, such as the Greek god Pan who was the god of flocks and herds and was represented as a man with the legs, horns and ears of a goat. In the Middle Ages, anthropomorphic ideas, which attributed human qualities and form to gods or animals, were held about the characters of other living creatures. They were based on the creature's habits. Moreover, these associations were reflected in folk tales, mythology, and legends that portrayed animals behaving as humans. The Old French nickname Zeally, meant happy person who had good fortune. It is derive from the Old English word saelig, meaning happy and blessed. 
Early listings of the name was typically seen a "sely" and "seli" and was referenced at least twice in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales:
"For sely is that deth, soth for to seyne, That, ofte y- cleped, com'th and endeth peyne"; and
"That Nicholas shal shapen hym a wyle This sely, jalous housbonde to bigyle."
Early Origins of the Zeally family
The surname Zeally was first found in Somerset where the first listings of name were found as a personal name: Sely atte Bergh; Sely Percy; and Sely Scury. All were found in Kirby's Quest temp. 1 Edward III (during the first year's reign of King Edward III.  The one exception of the aforementioned was William Sely.
The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 has some interesting entries too: William Sely in Oxfordshire; Egidius Sely in Norfolk; and John Sely in Gloucestershire. 
Early History of the Zeally family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Zeally research. Another 131 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1618, 1621, 1760, 1602, 1668 and 1630 are included under the topic Early Zeally History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Zeally Spelling Variations
The Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules, and therefore, Breton surnames have many spelling variations. Latin and French, which were the official court languages, were also influential on the spelling of surnames. The spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules. Therefore, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England after the Norman Conquest, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. The name has been spelled Cely, Ceeley, Celey, Ceely, Ceiley, Seely, Seeley and others.
Early Notables of the Zeally family (pre 1700)
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Zeally Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Zeally family
Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Zeally family to immigrate North America: Robert Seely, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1630 with the Winthrop Fleet; William Seely, who came to Barbados in 1635; John Seely, who came to Virginia in 1654.
Related Stories +
- ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
- ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)