The surname Bailey was established early on in North America by several different bearers; one of them, James Bailey, was one of the founders of Rowley, MA. A family of Huguenots of this name settled in CT, also using a variant spelling Besly.
Origin and Meaning of the Bailey surname
Bailey is a surname derived from words meaning “berry, enclosure, porter, and woodland clearing.”
This surname has three distinct origins. First, it can be an occupational name for a steward or official from the Old French “baillis” or “bailif”, and middle English “bail(l).” The word survives in Scotland as “bailie”, the title of a municipal magistrate, but in England has developed into “bailiff,” an officer of the court.
The second source is topographical, denoting one who lived by the outermost wall of a castle or fortified town from the middle English “bail(l)y” as can be seen in the case of the Old Bailey in London which was part of the early medieval walls.
Thirdly, the surname can be locational, from “Bailey”, in Lancashire which means “berry wood”.
The Soundex Code for the Bailey surname is B400. Here is a list of names that share this soundex code: BAILEY | BAILLIE | BAILLY | BAILY | BALA | BALE | BALL | BALLEAU | BALLEW | BALLOU | BAYLEY | BAYLY | BEAL | BEALE | BEALL | BEAULIEU | BELEW | BELL | BELLAH | BEWLEY | BIELA | BIHLI | BILL | BILYEU | BLAHA | BLEE | BLOW | BLUE | BLY | BOAL | BOLEY | BOOLE | BOWELL | BOWLEY | BOYLE | BUELL | BULL
Early examples of the Bailey name
The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger le Baylly, which was dated 1230, in the Suffolk Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Henry III, known as “the Frenchman”, 1216 – 1272.
The Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire recorded a Ralph de Baylegh in 1246.
Walter Bayley (1529-1593) educated at Winchester and fellow of Oxford, was Queen Elizabeth’s physician.
William Butterworth Bayley (1782-1860) an Anglo-Indian, was educated at Eton and rose to the rank of Governor-general of India (1828-1830). He later became a director of the East India Company.
American Bailey Immigrants
Between 1840 and 1920, 1,133 Bailey individuals immigrated to the US from England, 351 from Ireland, 202 from Great Britain, 67 from Scotland, 9 from France, and 6 from Canada.
Bailey is the 66th most numerous surname in the United States.
Bailey is a very common surname in the United States. When the United States Census was taken in 2000, there were about 265,916 individuals with the last name “Bailey,” ranking it number 66 for all surnames. Historically, the name has been most prevalent in the Southeast, especially in West Virginia. In 1840 the Bailey name was most prominent in Virginia, New York, and Massachusettes.
By 1920 there were Baileys found to some extent in all 50 US states, with over 1,100 Baileys in each of the states mentioned above, plus Texas, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Bailey is least common in the midwestern states.
World wide, there are approximately 475,283 Bailey surnames, making it the 1,120th most common surname in the world.
Famous people with the Bailey surname
Pearl Bailey (1918–1990) – Film Actress, Singer, Theater Actress, Television Actress, Journalist. Pearl Bailey was a Tony Award-winning singer and actress known for her roles in works like Carmen Jones, House of Flowers, Hello, Dolly! and Porgy and Bess.
DeFord Bailey (1899–1982) - Guitarist, Songwriter. DeFord Bailey was a mesmerizing harmonica player known as one of country music's first African-American icons and linked to the naming of the Grand Ole Opry.
David Bailey (1938-) - David Bailey is a British photographer known for his advertising, celebrity, and fashion photographs.
Philip Bailey (1951-) - Singer, songwriter and producer Philip Bailey is a member of Earth, Wind & Fire.
Family Crest / Coat of Arms
Bailey Ethnic Distribution
As reported by the US Census Bureau in 2000, the Bailey surname self-identified themselves as 74.77% Caucasian, 21.14% African-American, 1.45% Hispanic, 0.4% Asian, 0.61% Native American, and 1.63% Mixed Race.
Popular Given Names
The ten most popular first names historically given to babies with a last name of Bailey are James, William, John, Mary, Robert, Charles, George, Thomas, Helen, and Dorothy.
Bailey Military Records
125 Bailey patriots fought in the American Revolutionary War and received a military pension.
7,034 Bailey individuals served in the US Civil War. 4,258 fought on the Union side and 2,776 were Confederates.
?Bailey men and women enlisted in World War II.
? were casualties of the Korean War. ? Hill soldiers died in the Vietnam War, ? in the Gulf War, ? in the US War on Terror, and ? were Peacetime Military Casualties.
? Bailey solders received the Medal of Honor.
Bailey Surnames on this website.
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