Zelley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The earliest origins of the name Zelley date back to the time of the Anglo-Saxons. The name is derived from 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 Zelley family
The surname Zelley 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 Zelley family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Zelley research. Another 131 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1618, 1621, 1760, 1602, 1668 and 1630 are included under the topic Early Zelley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Zelley Spelling Variations
Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Zelley include Cely, Ceeley, Celey, Ceely, Ceiley, Seely, Seeley and others.
Early Notables of the Zelley family (pre 1700)
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Zelley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Zelley family
Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Zelley or a variant listed above: 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)