See glossary for symbol meaning.
See glossary for symbol meaning.
Ashley Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & Etymology
This popular surname is an English habitational name denoting a person who was from any of several places called Ashley, derived from the Old English word æsc, meaning “ash”, and leah, meaning “woodland clearing”. Taken as a whole, the translation is “land cleared of ash trees”. Some assert the roots of the name are Anglo-Saxon, but evidence also suggests that might be Norman. Towns and villages named Ashley are said to have been located in Cheshire, Wiltshire, Northamptonshire, Kent, Cambridge, Staffordshire, Canterbury, Chester, Ely, Bristol, Gloucester, Winchester, Hampshire, Oxford, Lichfield, and Petersborough. The name has also become a feminine personal (first) name.
A page on geni.com asserts the following: “The Ashley family arrived in Wimborne St Giles, originally from Wiltshire, where they owned the manor of Ashley, since the 11th century. The first ancestor to reside on the estate was Robert Ashley (born c. 1415), he was the fifth great grandfather of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury”. I have been unable to source the accuracy of these claims.
Spelling variants and names with similar etymologies include Astley, Ashleigh, Asleghm, Assele, Asseleghe, Esseleia, Aschley, Ashly, and Ashle. I have identified one family motto for the Ashley family, translated from Latin to English as follows: Legite et discite, meaning “Read and learn”.
Early Bearers of the Ashley Surname
The first known bearers of this surname was Walte de Esselega who was documented in the Pipe Rolls of Gloucestershire. Walter de Esseleia was recorded in Normandy, France in 1198 AD in the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae. He was also recorded in Gloucestershire, England in the same year. The Hundred Rolls of 1273 AD, a census of Wales and England, known in Latin as Rotuli Hundredorum lists three bearers of this surname: Robert de Aslegh (Devon), Henry de Assele (Norfolk), and Walter de Asseleghe, Somerset. Robert de Ashley was listed in the Court Rolls of Wiltshire in 1281 AD. Robert de Asshele was documented in Bedfordshire in 1291 AD.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Ashley ranks 852nd popularity in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following five states: South Carolina (350th), Arkansas (435th), Mississippi (437th), Georgia (523rd), and Louisiana (554th).
The surname Ashley frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (792nd), Scotland (3,510th), Wales (708th), Ireland (7,929th) and Northern Ireland (2,638th). In England, it ranks highest in Cheshire. In Scotland, the surname ranks highest in Fife and Aberdeenshire. In Ireland, it ranks highest in Ulster. In Wales, it ranks highest in Flintshire.
The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world: Canada (2,357th), New Zealand (1,463rd), Australia (1,132nd), and South Africa (3,413th).
Ashley Family Tree & Ashley Genealogy
Ashley of Wimborne St. Giles
Benedict Ashley of Ashley was born prior to 1410 AD. He had a son named Henry. Henry had a son named John. John had a son named John. This son John married Edith, daughter of John Talbot of Salisbury, and had a son with her named Robert. Robert Carlyle Ashely was born in Wiltshire, England in 1415 AD. He was a Member of Parliament. He married Egidia, daughter of Sir John Hamelyn and Elizabeth de Camoys, and had a son with her named Edmund. Edmund of Wimborne St. Giles was born in 1440. He married Margaret Turgis and had two issue: Hugh and Christian. Hugh Ashley was born c. 1460 AD. He married Elizabeth Walwyn and had a son with her named Henry. This son, Sir Henry Ashley married Radegan Gilbert and had two sons with her as follows: Anthony and Henry. Sir Anthony Ashley of Damersham was born in St. Giles’-in-The-Fields St. Katherine’s c. 1521 AD. He married Dorothy Lyte and had three issue with her: Anthony, Robert, and Francis. His son, Sir Anthony Ashley, 1st Baronet of Ashley of Wimborne St. Giles, was born in Damerham, Wiltshire, England in 1551 AD. He married twice: Jane Okeover and Philippa Sheldon Raleigh. He was Clerk of the Privy Council and went to Cadiz as a representative of the Queen. He was knighted for his performance during the Capture of Cadiz in 1596, a battle of the Anglo-Spanish War. He had a daughter named Anne who was born in 1602 and married John Cooper.
Ashley of Springfield
Robert Ashley was born in England c. 1616. He came to colonial America. He married a woman named Mary and had the following issue with her: David, Mary, Jonathan, Sarah, Robert II, and Joseph. Three of his sons are discussed below:
1) David Ashley was born in Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts in 1642. He married Hannah, daughter of Henry Glover of New Haven and Helena, and had the following issue: Samuel, Deacon David, Joseph, Sarah, John Joseph, Mary, Hannah, Abigail, Mary, Rebecca, and Jonathan. His son, Lieutenant Jonathan Ashley of Westfield was born in 1678. He married Abigail Stebbins and had children with her named: Abigail, Azariah, Lydia, Reverend Jonathan Jr., Benjamin, Ebenezer, and Phineas.
2) Jonathan Ashley was born in Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts in 1646. He married Sarah, daughter of William Wadsworth III and Elizabeth Stone, and had the following issue with her: Jonathan, Joseph, Sarah, Rebecca, and Samuel. His son, Samuel Ashley of Windham, was born in Hartford, Connecticut prior to 1687. He married Elizabeth Kingsbury and had issue with her as follows: Elizabeth, Samuel, Abner, Susannah, Joseph, Love, and Jonathan.
3) Joseph Ashley was born in Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts c. 1652. He married Mary, daughter of Cornet Joseph Parsons and Mary Bliss, and had the following issue with her: Joseph, Ebenezer, Mary, Abigail, and Benjamin. His son Benjamin Ashley was born in Springfield in 1696. He married Jane Shaw and had issue with her as follows: Mary, Aaron, Moses, David, Lieutenant Benjamin.
Ashley of Maine
Thomas Ashley was born in England c. 1613. Records shows he at Charlestown (1639), Cape Ann (1640-1642), present-day Maine (1647-1686) and Boston (1658-1662). He married three times: Johanna, Hannah, and Rebecca. All three of their maiden names are unknown. He was the father of five children: Edward, Thomas, Joseph, Rebecca, and Abraham. His sons are discussed below:
1) Edward Ashley was born in Merry Meeting, Kennebec, Maine c. 1650. He married Mary Hallowell and had a daughter with her named Dorothy, born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1687.
2) Thomas Ashley was born in Merry Meeting, Kennebec, Maine c. 1652. He married Mary Branson in Boston, MA in 1680. He had a daughter with her named Anna who was born in 1691.
3) Joseph Ashley was born in Merry Meeting, Kennebec, Maine c. 1675. He married twice: Elizabeth Percival and Mary Blashfield. He was the father of the following children: Thomas, Jethro, William, Elizabeth, Abraham, Mary, and Joseph Jr.
4) Abraham Ashley was born in New Town, Arrowsic Island, Maine in 1682. He married twice: Susanna White and Elizabeth Rogers. He had the following issue: Rebecca, Mercy, William, and Elizabeth.
Marriages of Ashleys
1) Mary Ashley married Lawrance Hoare in Derry Cathedral, Londonderry, Ireland in September 1660
2) John Ashley married Mary Duett in Staffordshire, England in December 1682
3) Richard Ashley married Margaret Watky in Staffordshire, England November 1696
4) Johem Ashely married Lidiam Alcocke in Audley, Staffordshire, England in April 1667
5) James Ashley married Mercy Day in Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts in December 1725
6) David Ashley married Hannah Miller in Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts in April 1758
7) Abraham Ashley married Elisabeth Rogers in Rochester, Plymouth, Massachusetts in November 1733
8) Jonathan Ashley married Chowan, North Carolina in October 1796
9) William Simes Ashley married Clarica Willard in Hartland, Vermont in July 1780
10) Thomas Ashley married Ruth Karn in Montgomery County, Virginia in 1797
11) Jeremiah Ashley married Mary Acton in Ross, Ohio in 1817
12) Robert Ashley married Susannah Chandler in Halifax, Virginia in October 1810
Early American and New World Settlers
Some of the earliest settlers in colonial America bearing this name include:
1) Ann Ashley, a servant, age 19, came to Virginia c. 1620
2) Samuel Ashley, age 19, came to Virginia aboard the Bonaventure in 1634
3) Mary Ashley, age 24, came to Virginia aboard the Bonaventure in 1634
4) Alice Ashley came to New England in 1635
5) Edward Ashley came to Maine in 1630
6) Robert Ashley came to Springfield, Massachusetts in 1638
7) David Ashley came to Virginia in 1642
8) Henry Ashley came to Maryland in 1649
9) George Ashley came to Long Island, New York in 1651
10) David Ashley came to Virginia in 1652
11) Thomas Ashley came to Maine in 1654
12) John Ashley came to Virginia in 1657
13) William Ashley came to Maine in 1659
14) Dennis Ashley came to Maryland in 1664
15) Richard Ashley came to Virginia in 1666
16) Phillip Ashley came to Virginia in 1667
17) Jacob Ashley came to Maryland in 1668
18) Edmund Ashley came to Boston, Massachusetts in 1670
19) Thomas Ashley came to Maryland in 1673
20) Job Ashley came to Virginia in 1674
Several thousand members of the Ashley family came to the United States through Ellis Island, during the nineteenth century, including:
1) Robert Ashley came from England aboard the Superior in 1844
2) Henry Ashley came from Great Britain aboard the City of Paris in 1871
3) Samuel Ashley came from England aboard the Superior in 1844
4) Henry Ashley came from England aboard the Spain in 1871
5) Thomas Ashely came from Ireland aboard the City of Antwerp in 1870
6) Charles Ashley came from England aboard the Nebraska in 1870
7) John T. Ashley came from England aboard the Aurania in 1888
8) Thomas Ashely came from Scotland in 1888
9) Edward Ashley came from England aboard the Adriatic in 1873
10) Frank Ashely came from England aboard the City of Brooklyn in 1870
11) Henry Ashley came from England aboard the City of Brooklyn in 1870
12) Edgar Ashely came from Sheffield, England aboard the Oceanic in 1906
13) William C. Ashley came from Gloucester, England aboard the Lusitania in 1909
14) William Ashely came from England aboard the Saint Louis in 1902
Some of the earliest settlers in Canada bearing this name include:
1) Mary Ashley came to Nova Scotia in 1750
2) Joseph Ashely came to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1776
3) William Ashley came in 1796
4) Catherine Ashley came to Ontario in 1861
5) Rebecca Ashley came to Ontario in 1861
6) John Ashley, along with Elizabeth, Albert, and Joshua A., came to Ontario in 1871
7) Franklin Ashley came to Ontario in 1861
8) Charles Ashley came to Ontario in 1871
9) Esther A. Ashley came to Ontario in 1861
Some of the earliest settlers in Australia bearing this name include:
1) John Ashley came to Van Diemen’s Land (modern day Tasmania) aboard the Andromeda in 1826
2) Mary Ashley came to Adelaide aboard the Royal Admiral in 1838
3) James Ashley came to Adelaide aboard the Prince Regent in 1849
4) John Ashley came to South Australia aboard the Olivia in 1853
5) John Ashley came to Sydney aboard the Duncan or Dunbar in 1859
6) Peter Ashley came to Sydney aboard the Gil Blas in 1854
7) Alfred Ashley came to Tasmania aboard the Wiclmott in 1838
8) William and Martha Ashley came to New South Wales aboard the Arkwright in 1840
Some of the earliest settlers in New Zealand bearing this name include:
1) Thomas Ashley, along w/ Elizabeth, Alfred, and Robert came to Auckland aboard the Bombay in 1863
2) John Ashley came to Auckland aboard the Claramont in 1863
3) Elizabeth Ashley of Edinburgh, Scotland came to Canterbury in 1876
4) Walter Ashley of Kent, England came to Wellington aboard the Douglas in 1874
5) Francis A. Ashely came to Taranaki aboard the Halcione in 1875
6) Robert R. Ashley came to Canterbury aboard the Rangitiki in 1876
There are hundreds of notable people with the Ashley surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include:
1) Charles S. Ashley (1858-1941) served 25 terms as the mayor of New Bedford, Massachusetts from 1890-1936
2) Sir William James Ashley (1860-1927) who was an English economic historian born in Bermondsey, South London know for his chief work, The Economic Organisation of England
3) Thomas William Ludlow Ashely (1923-2010) was a member of the US House of Representatives for Ohio from 1955-1981, graduated from Yale University and Ohio States, and served in World War II, born in Toledo, Ohio.
4) William Patrick Ashley (1881-1958) was a Senator for New South Wales, Australia from 1937-1957, born at Singorambah, near Hay,
5) Henry Ashley was a member of the US House of Representatives for New York from 1825-1827, born in Winchester, New Hampshire, a tanner by trade.
6) James Mitchell Ashley (1824-1896) was an American abolitionist and politician born in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania who served as a member of the US House of Representatives for Ohio from 1859-1869, as well as the Governor of Montana Territory from 1869-1870
7) Maurice Ashley (1966) is a Jamaican-American chess player who was the first black person to attain the title of grandmaster in 1999
8) Michael C.B. Ashley is an Australian astronomer known for his work on Antarctica
9) Laura Ashley was a Welsh fashion designer and businesswoman born in Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales was known for her Romantic English designs with a rural feel, as well as her use of natural fabrics
10) Jacqueline Ashley (1954) is a journalist and broadcaster, born in St. Pancras, London, England, who became President of Lucy Cavendish College at Cambridge
Ashley America Civil War Veterans
There were several soldiers with the last name Ashley who served in the American Civil War, including the following:
1) Thomas Ashley of 37th Regiment Kentucky Infantry (Union)
2) Abraham Ashley of the 30th Regiment Wisconsin Infantry (Union)
3) Addison S. Ashley 50th Regiment New York Engineers (Union)
4) Albert Ashley of the 29th Iowa Infantry (Union)
5) Lyman H. Ashley of the 88th Regiment Ohio Infantry (Union)
6) Marion Ashley of the 106th Regiment Illinois Infantry (Union)
7) George H. Ashely of the 8th Regiment Indiana Calvary (Union)
8) William Ashley of the 21st Regiment Virginia Cavalry (Confederacy)
9) Alexander Ashley of the 1st Regiment Arkansas Cavalry (Confederacy)
10) Lewis B. Ashley of the 20th Regiment Mississippi Infantry (Confederacy)
11) Nathaniel Ashley of the 1st Regiment Alabama Infantry (Confederacy)
12) Reuben Ashley of the 1st Regiment Georgia Reserves (Confederacy)
13) Robert Ashley of the 6th Regiment North Carolina Infantry (Confederacy)
14) Simeon Ashley of the 18th Regiment Tennessee Infantry (Confederacy)
Ashley America Revolution Veterans
There were several soldiers with the last name Ashley who served in the Revolutionary War, including the following:
1) Captain John Ashley of Virginia
2) Private Aaron Ashley of New York
3) Corporal Elisha Ashley of Vermont
4) Lieutenant Barnabas Ashley of Massachusetts
5) Lieutenant Benjamin Ashely of Virginia
6) Private Daniel Ashley of Rhode Island
7) Private John Ashley of Connecticut
8) Private John Ashley of Virginia
9) Corporal Ashley of Rhode Island
10) Sergeant Michael Ashley of Virginia
11) Captain Moses Ashley of Massachusetts
12) Captain Oliver Ashley of New Hampshire
13) Colonel Samuel Ashley of New Hampshire
14) Private Thomas Ashley of Virginia
15) Corporal William Ashley of Vermont
1) or Astley (Devonshire). Quarterly, ar. and gu. a bend sa.
2) (Dorsetshire). Az. a cinquefoil pierced and a bordure engr. erm. Crest—A harpy ppr.
3) (Dorsetshire). Vert a cinquefoil erm. a bordure engr. ar.
4) (Ashley, co. Chester). Ancient Arms—Quarterly, ar. and sa, on a bend gu. three mullets of the first.
5) (Ashley, co. Chester). Later Arms —Ar. two bars sa. a crescent of the first. Crest—A bear’s head muzzled ppr.
6) (Ashby Ledgers, co. Northampton). Az. a cinquefoil and a border engr. erm. Crest—A harpy ppr.
7) or Asheley - (Dorsetshire). Sa. another az. on a pale engr. ar. three crescents of the field.
8) (Lowesby, co. Leicester). Ar. a lion ramp. sa. crowned or.
9) (London). Gu. three woolsacks ar. in chief a mullet or.
10) (London). Gu. on a fesse engr. ar. betw. three griffins’ heads erased or, aa many crosses formee fitchee of the field.
11) (Norfolk and Suffolk). Sa. a fesse engr. betw. three fleurs-de-lis (another, crescents) ar.
12) (Somersetshire). Ar. three bulls pass. sa. armed or. Crest—On a chapeau gu. turned up erm, a bull sa. ducally gorged or.
13) Sa. on a pale engr. ar. three crosses formee gu.
14) Quarterly, ar. and gu. on a bend sa. three mullets of the first.
15) Gu. on a fesse engr. ar. betw. three griffins' heads erased or. as many crosses formee sa.
16) Ar. a lion ramp. gu.
17) Ar. a lion ramp. sa. and a chief gu.