Contributions from family members and other interested persons

From Neil Drewitt

My Great Grandmother was Lydia Shelley; she was the first wife of my maternal Great Grandfather Frederick Burton, a successful house-builder in Bournemouth in the boom years before and immediately after the First World War. Place of Burial: 2, Grosvenor Villas, Stewart Road, Holdenhurst, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England. Born: circa 1864. Birthplace: Bermondsye, Surrey, England. Died December 26th in Bournemouth, Hampshire, England. I flattered myself until recently by thinking that I had a direct connection with the Bournemouth-based descendents of Percy Bysshe Shelley who, with his heart, is are buried in St Peter’s church. However further desk research via the internet reveals that the poet’s only son, Percy Florence Shelley, died without children. Thus one can only conclude that the connection between Lydia Shelley and the Shelley’s of greater notoriety is entirely coincidental. The unsubstantiated rumour among surviving descendants of Lydia Shelley i.e. my mother (85) and her sister (90), is that Lydia was the illegitimate daughter of an affair between a Spanish doctor and her mother (a Shelley living in Bermondsey, London). Notwithstanding the precise details of what went on in 1864, the Iberian connection is clearly evidenced in surviving photographs of Lydia and the distinctly un-Anglo Saxon looks of my aunt and her three children – my cousins.  
Kind regards

From Jackie Welch in Canada

Hello,  I came across your website while doing some family research.  My  name is Jackie Welch (nee Shelly).  I live in Aylmer, Ontario, Canada.  My grandfather was Sidney George Brailsford Shelly and he was born in Manchester, England (1916).  His father was Thomas Shelly born in Lancashire (1877) and his father was Thomas Shelly born in England (1850) whose father was Thomas Shelly born in Liverpool (1812) whose father was Thomas born in  Wigan, Lancashire, England (1781).  This is where I start to get a little sketchy on the family history.  I believe Thomas Shelly’s (1781) father was John Shelly born 1732 Stone, Stafford, England whose father was George Shelly (1705) born in Stone, Stafford, whose father was John Shelly, whose father was William Shelly.  I have come across both spellings of the name for the later generations.    Does anyone have any connection to these Shelly’s or any info?

From Chris

Does anyone know the maiden name of Thomas Shelleys wife Margaret,when Thomas was a blacksmith in Wolverhampton in 1881? Their son Levi Benjamin was my great-grand father.
Victor Hedges

From Ryan Hunt

Hello, my name is Ryan Hunt and I am trying to find out any information that I can on my grandfather Charles Shelley's family. I am trying to find information on Edward Livingston Shelley and his father Joseph Shelley. This was my grandpa's grandfather...Edward should have had a son by the name of Ezra Cecil Shelley and he had a wife named Etta Shelley. Edwards father was Joseph Shelley born about 1815 in Ohio County, Wheeling, WV, he married Caroline SHelley and their children were Edward, Silas, John, Joseph and Daniel Shelley. Any information that you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Ryan Hunt >

From Andy Lucas

Dear Dr. Shelley, I am researching the men named on the Bramshott war memorial with a hope to publishing my work as a local history book in the near future. I would be much obliged if you would allow me to use the photo of Tom Redhouse which you posted on the internet.
Your sincerely,
Andy Lucas.

From Chris Shelley

My name is Chris (Christopher) Shelley. I am a Baptist Minister and currently live and work in Manchester. I've traced my ancestry back through my father, Clifford, (christened Clarence, but hated the name!), his father Sidney, who was one of twelve children, all born in South London, then Grandad George, who was born in Kentish Town. His father was Charles Shelley, also of Kentish, or Camden Town, and his father was William (Shelly or Shelley), who seems to have lived in the same area of North London, but may have been from Essex. Certainly Williams' wife, Elizabeth, was from Ilford, in Essex, though that doesn't prove anything. I'm afraid I got stuck when I reached William. He was born around 1790, place unknown. I have noted three villages named Shelley; one in Yorkshire, one Suffolk and the other in Essex, near Epping. I guess Shelleys may have originated from any of them - plus there seems to be a possible Irish origin as well. On Charles' wedding certificate William is described as an 'Inkeeper'. George married a country girl from Wiltshire named Fanny Bailey and I have been able to trace her ancestry way back to the late 1500s in and around Great Wishford near Devizes. Maybe someone out there can make the link to GGGWilliam.
All the best,

From Samantha Shelley.

Hi, just came across your website. found it really interesting with lots of similarities with family names etc. My father in law is William Shelley, originally from bermondsey, London, married to Doreen Shelley. My husband is Keith Shelley. We have two sons, Jacob William John Shelley and Joseph Samuel Shelley. We are currently living in Gillingham, Kent. There are lots of us out there! Just opened your e-mail. Mmy husband Keith is the true Shelley and shis two sisters both live in Walderslade. His father's brother was also called Tom and this seems to be a popular name in our history. Sam, Keith, Jacob & Joseph. Samantha Shelley.

From Michael Baumann in the USA

Hello, my name is Michael John Baumann.  I was "Googling" my mother (Sandra) and her maiden name, Shelley and came up with with a Sandra Shelley that was married to a Michael John (how funny) and then saw the rest of your web page and thought it was really interesting and hope I can possibly learn more.  My grandfather was William Shelley from the norther Wisconsin area.  Good Luck Shelley's and hope you place this on your Shelley board

From Kaye Gambles

Hello Dr.Tom. I have it on my father's authority that there is a family rumour that we are related to both Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley.  However I am finding it difficult to get further back than my GGGGrandfather Laban Shelley (also spelt Laben and Labon). With such an unusual name you would think it would be easier, but somewhere in 1871 he drops off the Census altogether. I tried working forward from Percy Shelley, but that got me completely lost too!   Part of the reason for trying to prove this link is that my daughter (at the age of 11) has just managed to get a poem of hers published by taking part in a competition for the Young Writers of Southern England, so it would be good to tell her that it is in her blood! Laban's daughter Mabel is my GGGrandmother. It is interesting you are in the field of engineering, my grandfather was an engineer, my father was an engineer and so are my brother and my husband! Any information you may have regarding Laban Shelley the Cowhand I would be most grateful to have. Thank you very much for your time and your informative website. Mrs Kaye Gambles (nee Brett)   (Mabel m. Walter Benjamin BRETT.)

Ftom Linda Collins

Hello: my maiden name if Shelley. My great grandfather was frederick Shelley of Old Road, Stone, Satffordshire, born on May 28th 1869. His parents were Henry and Ann (Nee Wood) Shelley born in 1832 and 1833 respectively. Is there anyone out there I am related to?

From Val Stuart

Hello, I am descended from the Sudbury, Suffolk, Shelley's, who originated in Essex.  Most of our Shelleys were blacksmiths though we have a few inn keepers.  Our earliest known ancestors were Richard Shelley and Margaret Linet, who married in 1631 in St Andrews, Bulmer, Essex.  They had five children, and moved to Suffolk, Richard was possibly a blacksmith.  Richard and Margaret had five children, one of whom married and lived in Essex, he was Richard Shelley.  We are descended from his brother Thomas, who married in Suffolk and founded a long line of Suffolk Shelley's.The names Phillip (spelled this way) and Uriah, feature in both the Essex and the Suffolk branches of the family.  In fact, my branch went so far as to name female children Urith and Yourath. My great-grandparents lived in Willesborough in Kent in 1861, Bushey in 1871 and 1881, and New Cross in London after that. I'd love to hear from anyone who may be related to our branch.   Regards, Val Stuart.

From Colin Shelley

I should like to share my family history which some readers may find of interest.

Early Times

There is one source which suggests that the name Shelley means "one who came from a shelley (wood on a slope) in Essex."  But Shelley is a Sussex name, and a notable one with an ancestry and a crest of arms to boot!  

John Shelley, whose grandfather was executed by Henry IV for supporting Richard II, was MP for Rye in 1450. There were Shelleys at Michelgrove near Clapham, firm Catholics through the Civil War and beyond, and  Shelleys also at Warminghurst, both in what is now West Sussex; the Shelleys of Patcham and Lewes; and then of course the poet, Percy Bysshe, son of a baronet and born at Field Place, Warnham near Horsham in 1792.  Various Shelleys also crop up in Hearth Tax assessments and the Catholic register of names in Sussex.  But none of these Shelleys can I connect in any way to my Shelleys.

I can trace my family back to Thomas Shelley, resident of West Firle, a small village tucked into the South Downs east of Lewes.  The village had for centuries been a Catholic sanctuary under the Gage family.  Thomas was born around 1690 but there is no record.  It is possible that he was the son or brother of Nicholas Shelley, another resident of West Firle who died around 1725.  

However, the recording of any Catholic baptism around 1690 would probably have been kept concealed.  Sussex in the years immediately after the "Glorious Revolution" was a dangerous place for Catholics.  Sir John Gage, a practising Catholic, had entered Parliament during James II's reign and served as Sheriff of Sussex; in 1690, his daughter, Mary, had married Sir John Shelley of Michelgrove.  But later that year he found himself in prison; while the vicar of his parish church in West Firle, the Rev. Lewis Roberts, who refused to accept the Anglican oath, was deprived of his living and replaced.

Thomas married Magdalene or, as she was later called Margaret, around 1715. Thomas died early but she remained a Catholic throughout her life.  She was recorded in the Anglican parish register at her death in 1762 as "a widow and papist."  They had two sons, John and Thomas and a daughter Anne, and lived in what is described as "a messuage or tenement with garden adjoining a containing road near a small bridge."

His first son, John Shelley, was in his early life secretary to Sir John Gage's son, Sir William, who succeeded as the seventh baronet in 1713.  Sir William never married but became fully accepted as a respectable member of the landed gentry when he converted from Catholicism to Anglicanism in 1730.  Undoubtedly, John Shelley converted as well.

John was probably involved in Sir William's extensive remodelling of his family home Firle Place, begun in 1720, and in the management of the various estates that the Gage family owned in Sussex.  And also probably in cricket which was Sir William's passion.  Sir William put together teams to play against the Duke of Richmond, based in Goodwood House, and other local landed gentry.  John must have been witness to the revelry, the gambling and the wager-mongering that went on throughout the game and long into the night.  As a gentleman visitor at the time wrote:

"I have spent the whole day at a cricket match at Lewes between the Gentlemen of Sussex and Kent.  Sir William Gage and Lord John Sackville are the rivals of the bat.  We have been at supper with them all and have left them at one o'clock in the morning, laying bets about the next match."  

Sir William died in 1744.  The estate documents reveal that he left £20 to his good servant, John Shelley, and owed him £124 for wages and funds laid out.  Some of this money was not received as the records show that, two years later, John had to sue to recover the balance.

After Sir William's death, John moved to Denton and then to East Dean by the coast near Beachy Head where in 1752, at the age of 36, he secured the position of Riding Officer of HM Customs.  

The duties of a Riding Officer were to try to stem the flow of contraband spirits, tea, and other untaxed produce into England.  This was big business at the time.  Canny entrepreneurs had invested capital in ships to transport their contraband, many of these ships carrying guns and sailing in convoys with experienced captains and crews.  Their financiers had agents abroad and organized shipments out of French, Belgian and Dutch ports.  And many local villagers were sympathetic to the trade and secretly helped it.  Farm workers would assemble at night-time in a sheltered spot near the landing point.  When the lantern flashed, they would move slowly to the shore and each seize a pair of tubs.  They returned in columns, sometimes to nearby horses or wagons and sometimes to hiding places in barns, haystacks, dewponds, and even local churchyards.  By daybreak, there was nothing to be seen.

For a time, the local customs officers were hopelessly outnumbered.  During the 1730's, they were beaten, abused and sometimes even murdered.  Two officers were captured at Seaford and tied to the beach at the low water mark and left to drown as the tide turned.  By 1752, however, the Hawkhurst smuggling gang had been smashed and a Riding Officer was less physically at risk.

Still, the smugglers appeared to have kept the upper hand.  A newspaper account of 1783 described the situation of the day.

"There is a most convenient port, about a mile from Seaford, for smugglers to land their goods.  And so daring have they become that a dozen or more cutters may frequently be seen laying to on an open day.  
On Tuesday evening, between two and three hundred smugglers on horseback came to Cuckmere and received various kinds of goods from the boats until at last the whole number were laden.  Then, in defiance of the King's men, they went their way in triumph.  About a week before this, upwards of three hundred attended at the same place.  And though the sea ran mountains high, the daring men in their cutters made good the landing, to the surprise of everybody, and the men on horseback took all away."

We did have, until recently, what I believe was John Shelley's sword, serrated to break open hidden packages; but we don't have any record of his diligence as a Riding Officer.  

A generation later, in 1824, two Riding Officers at East Dean were publicly reprimanded for their "lack of enthusiasm."  Disliked by the community, outnumbered by smugglers, and often facing potential violence, Riding Officers usually had to tread a narrow line between discretion and valor.  They were not cowards.  But few sought to be heroes.

John had married Ann in 1741 and they had six children, John, Thomas, Mary, Ann, Charles, and Charity.   John died young (aged 30), Thomas married and became a farmer in nearby Friston, the daughters also married.

Of my next forebear, Charles Shelley, I know little.  He stayed in East Dean, doing what I know not.  Being the fifth-born, he may not have inherited much of his father's estate.  I can imagine a decline in circumstances.  Around 1785, he married Sarah, a twin daughter of Henry and Elizabeth Shelley from West Firle.   Were they cousins or related in some way?  There are no clues.

Charles and Sarah had nine children.  Sarah survived her husband by fifteen years before succumbing to cholera in her eightieth year in Hellingley.  The two eldest sons, Charles and Thomas, moved in their 20's away to Alfriston, Charles to become a village tailor and Thomas a farm laborer.  And Alfriston is where our story takes us next.


Alfriston today is a downland village of a type that tourists love, picturesque and rich in local stories.  I stayed there on my birthday in 1996 at the George Inn where the graffiti was sixteenth century.
In the late eighteenth century, Alfriston was, as it had been for much of its life, a rather isolated farming community, mainly engaged in sheep raising, with a few tradesmen and a little smuggling on the side.  Its 107 occupied houses and resident population of 650 made it somewhat bigger than West Firle or East Dean, but not by much.  

However, by the turn of the century, with the fears of invasion from France during the Napoleonic Wars, the population was boosted by troops from the Middlesex and Hampshire Militias.  They were billeted in cottages around the market square and in outlying farms.  The village thrived during this period.  Still, the troops' presence did encourage some loose living.

"There was a considerable brewery with its vans and drags, sleek horses and burly-faced draymen.  There were the tanners, the tawers, the tallow-melters, the candle-makers and the soap-boilers, master builders too, doing a good trade; maltsters and the Excisemen, coopers and shoemakers by the dozen.  The butcher did a large business and made money.  The two inns were always full of company.  Volunteers and militiamen filled the place.  Drinking, cursing and swearing went hand in hand.  Barges floated down the Cuckmere and round to Newhaven, returning with merchandise of all sorts."  

The departure of the troops in 1815 impoverished the village but left a taste for lawlessness.  Alfriston was ruled for a while by a gang headed by Stanton Collins, a much glamorized figure who has endowed the village with its smuggler's image today.  Collins and his cronies made their base at the Market Cross Inn and, over a period of ten years, were active in smuggling and general thievery.  Finally in 1831, the forces of law prevailed.  The Alfriston gang was broken up after Collins was caught for sheep stealing and sentenced to seven years' transportation.

St. Andrew's, across the common or Tye from the village, was the parish church and, although supported by the well-to-do, fell into bad shape after the war.  

Tradesmen and shopkeepers began to switch their allegiance to the non-conformist Ebenezer Congregationalist Church, built in 1801, beside the twitten.  This church, under the Rev. George Betts, became noted for its music.  However, in 1822, trouble arose between Betts and Charles Brooker, a trustee.  Charles Brooker wished to marry his deceased wife's sister but Betts refused to perform the ceremony.  This so angered Brooker that he decided to get rid of Betts; and, one Sunday morning, without warning the minister, he engaged another to take the service.  The congregation was divided in its loyalties.  Eventually, and ironically with the support of Stanton Collins, Betts regained his position and he continued to serve as minister until the mid-1850's.  By that time, the attendance at his church had reached 300, as against a meagre 185 at St. Andrew's.

Charles Shelley established his tailor's shop on the High Street and in 1818 married Charlotte Blackman from Catsfield.  Like his parents, they had nine children, all but one baptized in the Ebenezer Church. Charles must have been a life-long supporter of his church as there is an exquisite plaque, in pristine condition today inside the church, of him and his family.

This is what a local historian has to say about Charles Shelley as a tailor.  The time is around 1840, well before the introduction of machines.  Tailoring was then still very much a traditional occupation, requiring the measuring, cutting out and altering of cloth by hand.

"Charles Shelly (sic), the tailor, stocked ready-made clothing to answer the needs of most levels of Alfriston's society.  He also made clothes to measure.  

Working in the shop with their father were Shelly's sons, Walter and Charles, as well as young Reuben Cox, an apprentice from Longbridge.  It is more than probable that Shelly's daughters, Mary Ann and Elizabeth, were called upon to work there too, either at the tailoring or behind the counter.  Perhaps they did minor repairs.  No doubt, Mrs Shelly's hands were full enough with 9 year old Francis, Owen aged 6 and Edgar the baby, to allow her much time to work in the shop.  The precise location of Shelly's house is unknown but there is a tentative reference to his living in one of the High Street cottages (Steamer Cottages).

Was there really enough tailoring to maintain such a large family?  Presumably so.  Shelly would keep some stock of heavy shirts and corduroy clothing for his laborers, although they often purchased from travelling packmen.  Perhaps for Alfriston's aristocracy - the Brookers, the Pagdens - there was a small range of frock coats, dark trousers, frilled shirts, fancy waistcoats, cravats and overcoats, as well as decently thick underpants and vests to keep out the valley's damp winter chill.  And hats, of course, for all occasions.

The clergy - Scutt and Bohun Smith over at Litlington, Ellman at Berwick - might not have patronized the village tailor.  They would more probably plump for the wider and more substantial selections at Lewes where so many absentee clergymen lived and where good class shops existed to satisfy their needs.

It would be surprising if Charles Shelly did not keep some stock of work dresses, shawls and blouses.  There would be aprons, too, worn every day, and without which the Victorian working woman felt incomplete.  Older women doubtless still adopted the old-fashioned caps which tied under the chin and all, irrespective of age, would need protective bonnets, for who would wish her sunburnt face to announce her base origins?  It is presumed that Charles Shelly took care of such demands.  

Perhaps he might even keep other garments more suitable for the Pagden ladies and vicars' wives, something appropriate for morning or evening wear or afternoon visiting."

Picturesque it might have been, but in the depressed economic environment of the 1840's there was probably not enough business to go around for all the Shelleys.  The eldest son, Charles Shelley, left to seek his fortune in Brighton.

Brighton and Hard Times

Charles Shelley arrived in Brighton in 1843.  What kind of town did he find?  

It was a fashionable town and a booming one.  Sea air and salt water had been recommended by doctors as a health tonic; and once the Prince Regent had started coming there in the 1780's, Brighton became a gathering place for London's high society.  The Prince built his Royal Pavilion in the town to the design of the Taj Mahal.  White stucco buildings in the Regency style soon sprung up on the Old Steine and stretched along Marine Parade and the King's Road as far as Hove. The Chain Pier was completed in 1823 and became a great attraction.  By 1841, the small fishing village of Brighthelmstone with a population of 3,500 in 1781 had blossomed to the thriving town of Brighton with 45,000 inhabitants.

And in 1841 the railway had arrived.  Brighton could now be reached from London in less than two hours.  This brought artisans, tradesmen and others seeking work, and the first day-trippers.  Brighton's population was to double to 90,000 by the year 1871.

But there was an underside to this growth.  Behind the fashionable facade, the town's backstreets, hemmed in on two sides by sharply rising hills, became more and more crowded.  Here the houses were for the most part ill-ventilated, badly drained, and often so damp that the walls were covered in lichens.  By the mid-1850's, Brighton had some of the worst slums in England.  

It was here that Charles came to look for a place to stay.  He moved from one tenement to another, seeking to ply his trade as a tailor.  We find him at 26 William Street off Edward Street and then at 4 North Lane Cottages, nearby what is the present junction of North Road and Queen's Road.  

He had by then met Amelia Bartlett, the 22 year old daughter of a shoemaker on Montpelier Road, and on June 17, 1845 they married.  The marriage ceremony was performed at St Nicholas's Church, high up on the hill overlooking the old town.  Amelia's younger brother, Edward, and a friend witnessed the marriage.  What is astounding to the present-day mind is that neither Amelia nor Edward could write and both had to affix an X, their mark, to the marriage document.

Charles's married life was characterized by poverty, children, and ultimately tragedy.  Their first son, Charles Robert Bartlett (CRB), was born in April 1846, followed by John Bartlett, Kathleen Ellen Bartlett, Mary Ann Bartlett, and Walter Bartlett between 1848 and 1852.  But the unsanitary conditions in which they were living took its toll.  The cholera epidemic claimed the children one by one, except the first-born, and then Amelia herself in 1854.  By that time, they had moved from North Lane Cottages, which had been condemned and were soon to be pulled down, to tenements nearby, first in Kensington Gardens and then in Richmond Buildings across from Grand Parade.

A year later, Charles's fortunes took a turn for the better.  He had met a widow, Emily Ditch, who lived nearby, and they married in 1855.  It would appear, although there is no evidence to support this, that she had a little money.  By 1856, they were settled in a small grocer's shop at 5 Richmond Street, which he ran for the rest of his life.  

The 1871 Census shows him living there with his wife Emily, his son Charles (CRB) 24 and working as a compositor, her son Doren training to be a dentist, and their own daughter Kate who did odd work as a dressmaker.  Charles died in 1881 but Emily, until her death in 1888, and then Kate kept up the shop for another nine years.

Charles's settled circumstances in the late 1850's encouraged his younger brother Owen to move to Brighton from Alfriston.  He met there a woman six years older than him, Hannah Turk, whom he married in 1861.  They too set up a grocer's shop, first at 57 Lavender Street and then at 83 Edward Street.  

Owen survived both his wife and his two children, who both died young, and lived on into retirement at 33 Redcross Street.   He himself died in 1917, the last link with the rural origins in Alfriston.  His nephew, CRB, witnessed the death.  Interestingly, my father kept in a tin box with his financial statements Owen's death certificate, which I discovered after his own death.

Trust of interest. Colin Shelley

From Lynne Dooley nee Shelley

Hello Shelleys. I am trying to trace my Shelley family. My grandfather was Alfred George Shelley, born 31 March 1867 in South Stoneham, Hampshire. his parents were WilliamShelley( 1835) and Jane (ne Marsh(1837). Anyone out there know any more?. Alfred had the following siblings:Eizabeth (1863)William (1864) Catherine Jane(1871)Arthur Edward(1874-1875)Eleanor Margaret(1879). I would love to hear from you. Kind regards, Lynne Dooley ne Shelley.

From Kenny Shelley in TN, USA

I am Kenny Shelley from TN,USA. I don't know a lot about my family history other than I think that my Great Grandfather worked as a Lighthouse Keeper and my GrandFather was John Shelley. I have been trying to find pieces that I could put together to see where my family is from and I am very confused and have always been. If you have any information That would be so great. Thanks! Kenny.

From Christopher Shelley in Bermondsey

Hi I am Christopher Shelley, son of Thomas and Doreen from Bermondsey South, East London. I also have a son called Thomas and a daughter called Jessica , not to mention a beautiful wife called Karen.

From Pamela Shelley in Los Angeles, California USA

A very brief description of my immediate family: My father's name is Jack Shelley and his side of the family hails from Hagerstown, Maryland. His father was Harold Shelley (deceased) and his mother is Iva Grace Davis. My father's brothers are Keith, James and Theodore (Ted). I have one older brother named Gregory and an older half-brother named Larry. From what I understand, the Hagerstown Shelley's are descended from Swiss Mennonites who landed on the shores of the US in the late 1800's. My mother is a German-born orphan, so there is no information available on her geneaology. About 6-8 years ago, one of my relatives took the time to put together a family history and turned it into a few spiral-bound books that were distributed at the annual Shelley/Davis family reunion in Maryland. My father gave me a copy, and though there are a few errors in the book since much of the info was obtained via word of mouth, I'll try to locate it and scan the pages. (I just moved into a new house so most of my belongings are still in boxes at the moment!) As soon as I have the book uploaded to a website, I'll return and post the location. Pamela Shelley"

From Ivy Shelley in Tasmania

Hello!, I am delighted that I stumbled on your website at Google. Thank you for entering all that information about the Shelleys. My grandfather (Edward Prince Shelley) came here to Tasmania, Australia around the 1890s. His father's name was John who married Matilda Ladbury in 1850. They came from Staffordshire. My father had 7 children. (4 girls and 3 boys) who have children living in various parts of Australia. I would really like to hear from any other "Shelley" who originated from Staffordshire England. Best wishes, Ivy Shelley

From Eric Boden

I was fortunate enough to stumble across your website while searching for Information on the 9th Lancers in 1914. I am researching My grandfather, Private Walter William Boden who was with A Squadron , 9th Lancers during the charge at Audregnies and also with the 21st (Empress of India's) Lancers. It is therefore very possible that Mr Redhouse and my grandfather must have known each other? I have managed so far to trace about 40 individuals who took part in the charge but details on them are very sketchy.  I intend to add as much background to as many of the men as I can. Hopefully I can resurrect them as people and not just as statistics. When I have as much information as possible and have formatted it into a readable document I will e-mail you and if it is of interest I will send you what I have. I belong to a World War 1 living history group that endeavours to educate the general public who on the whole, are completely unaware of what happened during The Great War. Please find attached a photo of the 9th Lancers Officers taken in 1911 in St James Park.

NOTE: ERIC BODEN HAS WRITTEN A MOST FANTASTIC BOOK CALLED "NO LONGER GHOSTS" ABOUT THESE MEN AND THEIR TIMES. The file is more than 10 MB - much too big to put on the web site, but anyone wishing to obtain a copy should please get in touch with the author at

From Rachel Shelley

Neat website! Now if only I could track my "Shelleys" down. My husband is a Shelley from Cape Town. His family (Alfred Crawford Shelley, b. Mar 1878, Chester Cathedral, Cheshire) moved over from Cheshire, U.K., to start a new life there. Prior to Cheshire they were based in Staffordshire. Alfred's parents were a William Shelley (b. 1851 in Stone, Staffordshire) and Emma Crawford (b. 1846, Chester, Cheshire, U.K.) If anyone has a link, they're most welcome to email me at Many thanks! Rachel Shelley

From Jane Shelley in South Wales

Hi All. I just wanted to say I thought your web-site was fab.There's a whole load of us Shelley's living in South Wales (UK). Hope you and your family are well. Kind Regards, Jane Shelley SHELLEJ@AISL.UK.CO

From Peter Johnson in Liphook

My great grandfather was the keeper of the Railway in Liphook and they have named a small housing complex Redhouse Court that has been built on the land adjoining the pub. Best wishes, Peter Johnson
See and

From Brian Shelley

Such a wonderful, wonderful site!!  It is with the greatest of interest whenever I peruse all that it contains.  Now, after many earlier considerations of contributing yet another little "Shelley" nook and cranny in the world, I finally decided to do so.  This would be the Westchester County area of New York State.  My earliest researched direct-line Shelley would be a Samuel Shelley, born ca. 1792 in Westchester County, as determined (or should I say reported?) through several censuses.  According to the 1790 United States Federal Census, there were only 2 Shelley heads-of-household in that county at that time, those being George and Joseph Shelley of Harrison, Westchester County.  In 1800, there appears a Gilbert, also of Harrison, with a son aged under 10. is my current hypothesis that I am allied directly from one of those three, and further feel that, due to subsequent naming patterns, Gilbert Shelley could very well be the specific ancestor.  It would, of course, be of greatest interest to me to correspond with anyone who just might share this up-to-now rather sparse twig.  All my best to all Shelleys everywhere. Brian Shelley,

From Oren Shelley in California

Greetings. My name is Oren Shelley from California and I'm in the process of tracing my family roots. I've made good progress on my mother's side of the family (Yerkey's from West Virginia). However, I am having great difficulty in getting any information on my father's side. My father's name was George Clarence Shelley. He was a resident of Detroit, Michigan during the period 1945-???. He was supposedly born in Franklin Kentucky some time between 1915 and 1917. That is the extent of my knowledge and I've been unable to confirm any of this through the usual channels (birth/death records, etc.). Is there anyone who reads or posts on the Shelley family site who is familiar with the Shelley surname in Detroit? and who can provide me with some assistance in breaking down this barrier? Any information at all will be most appreciated. Sincerely, Oren Shelley,

From Jesse Shelley in Seattle

WOW. This all started as a late night idea. My name is Jesse Wayne Shelley, born to Wayne Edward Shelley. I've lived in Washington all of my life, and my dad bounced from North Dakota to Montana to Washington. I just turned 23, 2 hours ago, and was reading some interesting things that I had stumbled upon while moving. I found my grandfather's genealogy notes that he had given my dad when he died, that I had gotten when my dad died, but I was too young to understand them. I just decided at 3:00am to start researching my grandfather's loose ends. I know everyone up to my great-great grandfather, including all of their children.   I was wondering if anyone is related to me through my grandfather Jesse Kirkman Shelley (April 2, 1913) who was born in North Dakota and died in Montana. My great grandfather, Jesse Clifford Shelley (May 1, 1870 - October 26, 1945) born in Wisconsin, lived in Minnesota, and died in Oregon. My great-great grandfather Lewis N. Shelley (January 7, 1844 - April 15, 1915). My grandfather's records show him as being born in Ohio or Pennsylvania, living in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and dying in Florida. The records also showing that his middle name is Nathan or Nahum. If you have information on any of these relatives, or would like to know if one of your relatives are in my notes (I know all of Jesse Kirkman, Jesse Clifford, and Lewis N.'s children's name's and birthdays), please feel free to contact me at I hope you all find what you are looking for, and may you all live good lives.

From Bruce Shelley

We wanted to let you know that we have a new email address. It is Thank You. Bruce & Betty Shelley

From John Shelley in Japan

Hello there. I just wanted to say hello and tell you how much I enjoy browsing your excellent website - fascinating indeed, and packed full of information on
the Shelley "clan".Recently I've begun researching my own family's history, but have come up against a brick wall in the late 19th Century. Although I was born in Birmingham (UK) and now live in Japan, my grandfather Albert Shelley hailed from Chipping Norton in the Cotswolds, one of a family of 9 children. His father was also confusingly named Albert, wife Annie Meadows, and we suspect that he is the same Albert Shelley listed in the records as being born in Langford, Oxfordshire in 1859. Unfortunately the trail has ended there - Albert senior's father is recorded as William, but I haven't been able to trace any records of other Shelleys in Langford. I'd dearly love to hear from any Shelleys with connections to Chipping Norton, Langford, or other parts of the Cotswolds and Oxfordshire.
Many thanks! John Shelley

From Claudia Shelley in Mexico

Hello, my name is Claudia Shelley, I live in México City, I´m 39 years old and I have one son, he has 16 years old and his name is Carlos. My grandfather was Norvin Barret Shelley and his father was John W. Shelley, he comes to México City (El Aguila Oil). I like/want to know my family in other countries. I work in advertising, I'm a photographer. Claudia Shelley, Shelley Producciones

From another Mark Shelley

Hi, I 'm Mark Shelley, in England (my family lived in London but not now). I was wondering if anyone had info on a John Albert Gineva Shelley or a Albert
Shelley. If you do could you please reply to me at . Thanks a lot.

More from Ken Ettie in Canada

Since I last wrote I have determined that I am the first cousin, three times removed, of Ann Furlonger, whose photo is featured on your web site. She bears a remarkable resemblance to my grandfather (in his later years), Felix Furlonger, who was born in Haslemere, Surrey, in 1881. Felix is descended from the Furlongers of Haslemere and Chiddingfold, many of whom were butchers or farmers, and owned property in the area. Felix is noted for winning an Irish marathon race in 1907 :   Regards.   Ken Ettie

From Paul Cooper

I wrote once before regarding one of my relatives, my 1st cousin twice removed, Edward Nicholson, who also served with the 9th Lancers, but since then, more information has come to light.
I have recently discovered that Edward's military movements were exactly the same as those of your relative. My cousin Edward was also with the 21st Empress of India Lancers prior to being posted to Potchefstroom in the Transvaal, South Africa from 19th October 1909 to 12th November 1910. He was also in Canterbury with the 9th Queens Royal Lancers, attending the ceremonies of the Coronation of King George V in 1911. In 1914, he would have sailed with your ancestor, as he was in the 9th Lancers as part of the British Expeditionary Forces who left England on 15th August 1914. He was killed on 13th May 1915 in the second battle of Ypres.If you would care to compare notes, I have his details and story posted on my family website. The url is You will find some photographs there which may be of interest, specifically 1 taken with the 21st Lancers in Lydd, and 2 taken in Potchefstroom with the 9th Lancers, which may even show Bryant (Tom/Joe) Redhouse himself. Please get in touch if there are common areas of interest, or any photographs you may have that could possibly include my relative.Regards ... Paul Cooper

From Christopher Shelley on the US West Coast

Howdy. I'm Christopher Shelley. My grandfather came to Southern California during the oil boom of the 1930s. They came from Colorado, where they were mountain people, surviving by hunting. This branch of Shelleys are excellent shots! They first trace I have of them is in Indiana. Great Grandpa Shelley married a woman named Zimmerman. They move the whole family to Colorado, then Oregon, then the Owens Valley in Eastern Ca., then L.A., where they sold Fords. I don't know what Great Grandpa's name was, but he was a blacksmith. If any of you know of a Zimmerman woman in Indiana marrying a Shelley, let me know. My details are plainly sketchy, and I want very much to be able to trace this line a little more conclusively. Incidentally, my father's uncle, Chet Shelley, was the City Manager of Las Vegas from 1950 to 1952 (if that helps). Thanks, Chris

From Dr Steven Shelley from Pennsylvania

Hi, I am Dr. Steven Shelley.  I am originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where currently several hundred Shelleys live. Along with my father, Earl Shelley, I have been researching my family history.  We were always told that the family was from southern England, but our recent research has shown that is not the case.  The first Shelley in Lancaster County, and quite likely in eastern Pennsylvania was Jacob Shelley, who settled a farm just outside of Lancaster in 1692.  It turns out that Jacob Shelley was actually Jakob Schelle, who emigrated from a small village near Leipzig, Germany in 1692.  His name apparently got written by English-speaking authorities in Lancaster as Shelley, which it does sound like, and is a name with which they were familiar.  Most, if not all, of the Shelleys in eastern Pennsylvania are probably the descendants of Jakob Schelle.  The source of the family tree in Europe shows the Schelle family in the Leipzig area from the early 1400s.  Previous to that there is apparently no record, which is hardly surprising for the Middle Ages.   Does all this mean that the Shelleys of eastern Pennsylvania are unrelated to the Shelleys of southern England?  As an archaeologist with some training in historical comparative linguistics, I would venture a guess that in fact we are related.  The names are so similar in pronunciation that they are likely to be of the same origin.  It would be very interesting to know the Shelley family tree from Sir John Shelley.  I would bet that the Norman Shelleys and the German Schelles are from the same family, probably split sometime during the upheavals of the early Middle Ages.

From Ann Massengill in America

The website I'm viewing may be old, but I thought I would write anyway.  My ancestor was Robert Shelley b. 1587 Nazeing, Essex, England who emigrated in 1632 on The Lyon arriving in Boston with his wife Anne ? and children:  Robert, Jr. b. ca 1610, Ann m. Richard Foxwell, Sarah, Margaret and probably one or two others.   I have been unable to trace Robert's parentage in Nazeing and would love to hear from you if you have any information on his line.   It's wonderful to be able to view a site like yours which is so easy to view.  Thank you.   Ann Massengill USA

From Tom Harding in West Sussex

Hi all, my name is Tom Harding, I live in Selsey West Sussex. I know I am not a Shelley but I am related to a Shelley. I believe that I am the closest relation to Percy Bysshe Shelley and his first wife Harriet. I am related to their daughter Iantha who married Edward Jefferies Esdaile. They had 3 children, one was called Charles Edward Jefferies Esdaile. He married Marriane Maxwell (wrong spelling). They had 11 children. One of these 11 was called Percy Charles Esdaile. He married Dorethy Oldfeild and created Elizebeth Esdaile (my grandmother). She married Herbert Philp Warmington and had 4 children. The eldest was my mother called Jane who married John Harding and they created me and my brother. So Percy Bysshe Shelly is my 4 great grandfather.

Most of my family above are buried or live in Cothlestone which is near Taunton, Somerset. I have recently done a family tree and would like to extend it so if anyone who is related to Percy Bysshe Shelley in any way could contact me, I would be very grateful. For any questions or information, (I have lots) please contact me at this address. Thank you for your time.

From Joanne Shelley in Canada

My name is Joanne and I live in Mississauga, Ontario.  In my family, I am first generation Canadian and my mum and dad (Alan Shelley and Lorna (Orsler) Shelley came to Canada in 1964 or 5.  I am excited by finding this web site!  I never knew that there were so many North American Shelleys!.

From Paul Cooper

I was extremely interested to find your web page concerning Bryant Redhouse, your relative who served in the 9th Lancers during the Great War. I have a 1st cousin twice removed who was in the same regiment, at the same time.

His details are: 1844 Pte Edward Nicholson. Edward was previously serving, from 1907, but had moved to Canada in 1912. When war was threatening, he rode by horseback into Lampman, re-enlisted, and returned to England to rejoin the 9th. He was in the British Expeditionary forces to France on 15th August 1914. I'm sure that his service and experiences would have paralleled those of Bryant (Joe? .. Tom?).

The section of your webpage headed "Charges at the Marne" mentions Lieut.-Col. D. G. M. Campbell, a Colonel of the Regiment. When Edward was killed on 15th May 1915, Lt-Col David Campbell sent a 3 page hand written letter to Elizabeth Nicholson, Edward's mother, explaining the circumstances surrounding Edward's death, and the sincere sadness he felt at the loss. The letter was reprinted in the local newspaper of the time. I have copies of the official notification of Edwards death, letters from the paymaster in reference to his outstanding pay, sympathy note signed by Asquith on behalf of the King and Queen etc. I even have a bill from C. Roddis, Master Tailor, 9th (Queen's Royal) Lancers dated June 13th 1914 for the following:
For making suit to order 2 5s 8d,
For making 1 cap            2s 6d
For 1 linen collar             6d
Total                    2 8s 0d

What I do not have is a photograph of Edward in uniform, or indeed, any of the Regiment from that period. If you have any information, documentation or photographs that would help me fill in more of Edwards military life, I would be extremely grateful, and obviously, I would be only too pleased to share anything I may have that would be of interest to you. regards .... Pau Cooper (always a Yorkshireman, now in New Jersey USA)

From Jeffrey Thomas

Dear Anne Carter Shelley,  I am a product of South Carolina Shelleys and was wondering how you know all of us are from Amsterdam if you please?  Jeffrey Thomas.

From Mick Davis

Hello everyone, There is a strong tradition in my family that my great great grandmother was descended from the sister of Percy Bysshe. Her name was Alice Ray, born around 1854 in Bethnal Green, London, daughter of a Thomas Ray. That is all I know about that branch of the family. Personally, I don't even know if Shelley HAD a sister so if anyone could help me out on this one I would be grateful and share anything I dig up.
Regards. Mick Davis,

From Peter Fisher

My family are Fishers, but all the male members have the middle name Shelley and in the 1800s there were several female Shelley Fishers e.g. Eliza born 1812. Still trying to find where the Shelley came from. So far have got back to William Shelley Fisher born Alnwick 1838.
Peter Shelley Fisher

From Laurie Shelley in North Carolina

Hello, so nice to find out our clan is so prolific. Here in North Carolina we are few these days. I have only met one other Shelley. In my days at university. As he was from Pennsylvania I think he was taken aback by how glad I was to meet him as I understand it is not an uncommon surname there. I am generally called by my last name in business circles. The pitfalls of having two first names or two last names, depending on how you look at it. I am the daughter of John William Shelley. He too like the man at my school had dark hair and blue eyes as does my nephew. No curls though. My Grandfather was John Lee, his father William Lee his father John, and a James before that I think. I also had an uncle Enoch who moved to Indiana when the Civil War broke out. All Quaker farmers and at least one tanner. Most likely from Pennsylvania before coming here and from England before that. I enjoyed reading your family history and of the others who wrote and would happily claim you as cousins.
Kindest regards, Laurie Shelley

From Andrew Lucas in Liphook

Yesterday, whilst browsing the web, I came across your web site which filled me with delight. The reason being is that at the present time I am researching all the men named on our local village war memorial;St Mary's ,Liphook, and as you so rightly said one of those names is Tom Redhouse. Your article made very interesting reading and if my hopes come to light I will publish my findings with the local preservation society.
The date you give for your father's uncle's death is October 11th 1914 but the Commonwealth War Graves Web Site states it as 20th October 1914 and on top of that the publication "Soldiers died in the Great War" states it as being 24th September 1914. I understand that he was known by three names ..Bryant ,Tom, or Joe but to have three deaths is unusual for any man !!! You say in your article that he is named on the Menin gate but according to the C.W.G.C. he has a marked grave in the cemetery in Merville communal cemetery extension which I believe is in northern France. Grave reference IV. D. 2. And before I go the 9th lancers were the last cavalry regiment to effect a lance to lance charge against an opposing force in the Great War and apparently in history!!! Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you in the future. .

From Theresa Shelley in the USA

Hi! My name is Theresa Shelley. I was playing around on the computer and found a website with this e-mail address on it. I was just curious as to whether we might have some family connection. Umm...well, obviously one of my parents is a Shelley and that would be my father John Thomas Shelley. Before him were two more John Shelleys, my grandfather and great-grandfather both passed on. But from some of the stories, I heard my great-grandfather came from England as a stowaway on a ship, and last year at Ellis Island in New York City, New York, I found some record that he may have come in on a ship there. As far as some sketchy background goes, my great grandfather's parents died and he and his siblings were in orphanages. Some of them went to Australia while my great grandfather came to America. Do you think it is possible there is any connection?

From another John Shelley

My name is John Steven Shelley, born in Aushaffenburg (not sure on spelling), Germany on March 20, 1982. My parents are John Thomas Shelley Jr. and Helga B. Shelley (maiden is Kurber, again not sure on spelling). I have recently become interested in finding out about our branch of the Shelley family. My great grandmother had spent lots of time and money, even travelled to England, to trace my great grandfather's family roots. My great grandfather has been dead long before my time, and my great grandmother just died recently. All of her possessions went to one of her daughters, named Joyce. My family has attempted to get the info my great grandmother found from Joyce, but she has not responded to our requests. All I know is from what I have been told by my parents and grand parents. My great grandfather, John Shelley,  came from England before World War 1 I believe, around the age of 16 if I remember correctly. He was in an orphanage in Southern England I think(possibly near Sussex but not sure), but did have some siblings. How many and their sexes I do not know off hand, or why they were in an orphanage I don't know either. I do remember being told he had a sister who was eventually found to be living in Australia. I was told my great grandfather snuck over to Canada on a ship. He lied about his age, saying he was 18, to join the Mounties. He left the Mounties when they found out his real age. After that I believe is when he came to America, to Michigan. There he met my great grandmother, her first name is Theresa but I do not know what her maiden name was. They had a family, how many children I don't exactly know, but I do know there was my grandfather, John Thomas Shelley, his brother Norman, and his sisters Joyce and Elanoir. All of whom I believe still live in Michigan and have families of their own. My grandfather, and Norman have passed on, and I believe Elanior might have too. My grandfather married Norma Jean Rossiere, my grandmother, and had 4 children: Mathew, Bonnie, Theresa, and my father John Thomas Shelley Jr. Early on they lived in the Detroit area of Michigan and moved out West near Los Angeles, California for a while. After my grandfather died when I was around 6, the family moved back to Michigan. We are all living in central Michigan now. That's all the information I can find out for now, without having the information from Joyce. Hopefully someone will recognise my great grandfather or others and be able to help me piece together other information. Feel free to contact me  at my e-mail address any time. Sincerely, John S. Shelley

From another Len Shelley

I thought I would just drop you a line as I also am a Len Shelley living on the south coast of  England(Lancing West Sussex)

From Ken Ettie in Canada

I enjoyed your family history website, particularly as it pertains to Ann Furlonger. I am a Furlonger descendant. My Great grandfather, Felix Furlonger, came from Haslemere and his ancestor James Furlonger was born c.1757 in Chiddingfold. I must now try to find out if Ann is connected to my family tree, as I'm sure she must be. (refers to "Notes on his maternal grandmother and grandfather by Dr Shelley's father").

From Andrew Shelley in Australia,

I came across your web site recently. I have been told by my father that the first Shelley to emigrate to Australia was a Presbyterian missionary some six generations ago. I was interested to note the large number of Walter Shelleys in your history. My grandfather and great grandfather were both Walter Shelley. My aunt is currently putting together what information we know. If you had been contacted by Shelleys in Australia I would be grateful for their details.

From Sherwin Chase,

Dear Dr Shelley, I recently came across your article 'Some Shelly family history' whilst searching for something on Methodism in Knockholt, and was interested to read of the family connection with that village. You are probably already aware, but I thought I would mention it anyway, that there is a lane in Knockholt called 'Shelleys Hill' a few hundred yards beyond St Katherines Parish church off Knockholt main road. In a book entitled 'Sevenoaks Essays' by Dr Gordon Ward (First Published 1931, reprinted 1980), mention is made of a Thomas Shelle in relation to 'The boundys of the parissh and lordship of Okolt' dated 1453 - the original being in Canterbury Cathedral (p211). This book is a series of essays on ancient places and names in and arround Sevenoaks, and makes very interesting reading.

Regards, Sherwin Chase,

From Barb Holm in Canada

My name is Barb Holm.  I have reason to believe that I am a direct descendant of Percy Bysshe Shelley from his first wife, Harriet.  My grandmother, Vera Elise Rose Allibone, was born in London on February 26, 1899 to Rose Gee and Percy Arthur Allibone.  Before Percy's death, he revealed that his mother was kept by the Shelleys.  We believe he was the son of Ianthe's daughter, Birdie?.  My grandmother married during World War I and came to Canada with her husband, Harry Clements, in 1919. They had a son, my father, Robert, and a daughter, Pat.  Could you please direct me to where I could trace my great grandfather's ancestry?  Any information would be much appreciated.
Regards, Barb Holm,

From Mandy Shelley in Sussex

Hi, My name is Sandra Shelley, wife of Michael John Shelley.  We were both born in Sussex, England, where we still live today.  I have recently started tracing my husband's family tree, and so far have got as far as his great-great-grandparents, Stephen Shelley & Sarah Hall who married at Lewes, Sussex in 1818, four years before the death of Percy Bysshe Shelley (poet).
I think it is a fact that most people with the name Shelley would like to think they are related or descended from Percy Bysshe - including my husband who has always enjoyed the Frankenstein stories, so therefore MUST be related to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, at least!.....or so he thinks. Well, I hate to disappoint everyone, but, Percy Bysshe Shelley's only descendants would not have had the name Shelley.  His only son, to reach a marriageable age, adopted his wife's niece and had no heirs to carry on the Shelley name.  His daughter, Ianthe Eliza (from his first marriage to Harriet Westbrook) married Edward Jeffries Esdaile and had two sons and a if you are a direct descendant of Percy Bysshe Shelley, you must first connect to his daughter and her husband Edward Esdaile.
Percy's ancestry dates back to John Shelley 1525/26 and his wife Elizabeth Michelgrove (heiress of John Michelgrove).  Michelgrove eventually passed into the hands of the Shelley family, who also had strong links to Field Place in Horsham, Sussex, and also to Castle Goring. I don't know where this Shelley family originated from, but I do know for the 300 years that I've mentioned they were in Sussex, England.
Sandra Shelley - Eastbourne - Sussex UK

From Ann Redhouse in Eire

My name is Ann Redhouse and I am compiling a one name study of the surname Redhouse. In other words trying to join up all the UK Redhouses and their descendants.Nellie Rachel Redhouse who married Walter Shelley on 1/11/1904 and her family are included in the tree.

We live at Newgrange Farm, Newgrange, Slane, Co. Meath. Our farm surrounds the world heritage site of Newgrange. We are about 30 miles north of Dublin in the Boyne Valley. Our farm is a mixed farm, we have a single suckling herd of cattle and fatten cattle for export. We also have a large flock of sheep, with most of our lambs going to the Irish butchers, and tillage crops. Most of the Irish Redhouse Clan were and are  involved in farming, although our children's generation is going in many other directions. Our youngest son David is our only farmer, our eldest son Howard has his own property company in London, while Tara is a manager in a luxury resort in the Napa Valley, in California.

From Judy Russell in the USA

I saw your web page one evening as I was surfing the net looking for my Shelley roots and thought I would e-mail you.  My great grandfather was George Shelley born June (1838-1841).  US census and death certificates have different years. I have completed my Shelley genealogy from 1880 to present but would like to find out about George's life before he emigrated to USA.   I found your family history interesting in that George Shelley listed his occupation as brass moulder on the 1880 census and on the 1900 census he owns the Shelley Machine Shop in Wilkes Barre, Pa. George Shelley had eight sons and nearly all of them were machinists or tool and die men.   I do not know George Shelley's mother or father's name or the names of siblings.  I do have a hand written paper where my grandmother has written genealogical notes.  She has written, 'George Shelley,Wolverhampton, Lancashire'. I don't know if this means they were living in Staffordshire but were originally from Lancashire.   From the 1900 census, I know that George immigrated to USA in 1855.  Family history says he came alone leaving family behind in England.   I have found a George Shelley christened July 25,1841 at Penn, Stafford.  Father John Shelley and mother Elizabeth Johnson.  Elizabeth and John were married Feb. 3, 1839 Upholland, Lancashire.  Does any of this fit into your Shelley line?   When my Shelley left England around 1855 was their an office where he would have had to file a petition to emigrate to USA? Thanks so much for your time,

Hello,   Thanks so much for adding me to your web page, I appreciate it very much!  I have  found a little more information on my SHELLEY line. I believe John and Elizabeth(Johnson) Shelley were the parents of the following children: Edward christened April 25,1839 Wombourn, George christened July 25, 1841, Joseph christened Sept. 2, 1843 Henry christened Oct. 26, 1845 and John christened Jan 30, 1848 all at Penn,  Staffordshire. Thanks Again,Judy in the Heartland where its oh so cold!!!!!

From Bruce Shelley in Ontario, Canada

Hi Fellow Shelleys,
Hi my name is Bruce Rueben Shelley and I was born in London, Ontario, Canada on January 29, 1941. My Father's name was Rueben Herman Shelley and he was born September 4, 1905.   He passed away in 1975.   He enlisted in  the First RCR's and was transferred to the Lincoln and Welland Regiment. My Mother's name was Myrtle Bernice Kenny and she was born June 21, 1906.  She passed away October 16, 1984.My Father's Father's name was Benjamin Shelley. Any information to the above would be greatly appreciated.   My e-mail address is  My home address is 295 Thames Street, South, Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada N5C 2T8  

From Mike Shelley in Manchester UK

Hi, I'm Mike Shelley, age 39 and living in Manchester.I have been trying to get started tracing my family tree through the Shelley line, and came across your website.My grandfather was called Albert Shelley, born 1902 in Staffordshire, and as far as I know his father and siblings were also based and stayed in Staffs.I am not sure how to proceed with my quest, and wonder whether you can give me any useful sites or addresses.I look forward to hearing from you.

From Gordon Shelley in Mississauga, Canada

Enjoyed your page. My name is Gordon Shelley and I live in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. I don't know too much about my branch of the family but I think they came to Canada in the early 1800's. George Shelley was my grandfather. His 3 sons all lived in southern Ontario. My father was Clarence Shelley. His 5 children (I'm number 3) are spread around southern Ontario and Ohio, USA. My wife and I have 2 daughters - one lives in Toronto and the other is going to university in Germany. If I can muddy the family tree any more, drop me an email at

From John Shelley in England

Greetings, I am presently researching my family tree. The information I have is that we are of Irish descent. Blonde hair and deep blue eyes have been a mainstay through the generations. My great great grandfather came to my birthplace, Stalybridge, Near Manchester, England as a cotton labourer from a small village in the Peak District called Cromford. He settled in Stalybridge and had four children named John, Tom, Mary and Louise. John and Tom also go back a lot longer as names in the family tree.Cromford is a beautiful village hardly untouched by today's standard. I managed to find through the Mormon records a Marriage by a John Shelley there in 1765.
Yours John Shelley,

From Rhonda Shultz in Iowa 

Hi fellow Shelleys, My name is Rhonda Shelley married name (Shultz). My family history is that I am from the Memphis, Mo. Shelley's. My great grand father was Elra E. Shelley and grand father was Loren Jones Shelley. Donald W. Shelley was my father.  I'm looking for family history. I live in Ottumwa, Iowa ,but own the Shelley Family Farm in Memphis where Elra built a Sears House in 1914. I am wanting to find information on William and Nora Shelley who lived in Scotland Co.    William and  Nora's children where : Garland and Elra Shelley.
Elra married Minnie Jones They had 2 sons Loren and Emil.
Loren married Pearl Aylward .Pearl and loren had 2 sons Clair and Donald.
Donald married Shirley Ellis and they had 4 girls. That's where I  come in.
I need to know more about William and Nora. I know they lived in Scotland Co. Mo. At least they live there in 1877 when Elra was born.
So if any one knows anything about them please e-mail me. I have the family tree from Elra down done.
Rhonda Shultz

From Patricia Shelley in Mexico City

Hi! This is Mexico City headquarters.   My grandfather's parents arrived in the USA (Paducah, Ky.)in the mid l800's.  They were cousins and in love, escaped to America to get married.  My grandfather's name was John Wollstonecraft Shelley, married Altagracia Lerma in Mexico, had 5 children (Lawrence Bysshe - my father-,Daniel Manning, Norvin Barret, Willard and Grace Darling) from first marriage, from second to Maria Torres, had two more(Sara and Guillermo). All deceased except Sara. I have six brothers and one sister.  Among them a poet, Jaime Augusto Shelley.  My father told us we too descend from the Percy Bysshe line.  We try - very hard- to get together once a year, but Mexico City is now the largest city in the world and by now there are lots of us in Mexico, the country. (Claudia, above, my niece - hola chavita).  I have a daughter, l3, Patricia Estrella, I am a common citizen, with lots of very educated relatives. My business, translations. Lived in London, England for a while, working for Chrysler International, but never ran into a Shelley.

I found something for you, Richard and Terry. So here it is. Hope to help.

I once contacted Barbara Shelley (Nov.l978) in the U.S. Caught her name in a drawing published in the New Yorker magazine. Her reply to my inquiries was: "My grandfather, Percy Shelley came from Sheffield, England in l9l4 to US, my grandmother Harriet Copeland Shelley was born there. My father Sidney was born in Poolsbrook, England Feb. 4th, l9l0. He had four brothers. Williamm.Leslie (deceased), Leonard, John and Robert born in US. Settled in Pateroon, New Jersey."  I feel her grandparent's story resembles that of my own except for the dates. My grandfather was John but, although I don't have his birthdate, I do have my father's, Lawrence Bysshe Shelley, Sept.6th ,l906.And, she goes on: "My father was an officer in the Army now retired in Orlando, Florida. Leonard is in Mountain View, California., Bob and John are in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. My sisters are in Wuilliamson,Virginia. and Ann Arbor, Michigan." Does that help? Let me have your comments.  Saludos de Mexico.  My address:  Please write to me with info from all of you, love to hear your news.
Patricia E. Shelley

From Sergeant Stephen Shelley

Good to know there are still people in the world with a decent last name!!!  My name is Stephen Paul Shelley II.  I am from American Fork, Utah.  I am a Sergeant in the U.S. Army on the Bomb Squad (EOD).  The Shelley family settled a lot of Utah and Idaho.  The Shelley family settled in American Fork in 1851 by James B. Shelley with his three sons James, John and Joseph.  I am currently trying to piece together my family geneaology before James B. Shelley.  If anyone out there has any information, my email is or

From Terry Shelley

Hi...I live in Buellton California.  According to my father Robert Joseph Shelley, my grandfather, Asa Joseph Shelley claimed we are related to Percy Byshe.  I hear that our family also comes from County Cork.  I also have relatives in Australia...I'll have to check with my aunt and get some more facts..she's up on all of this stuff.  This could be fun!

Kia Ora from New Zealand,

My name is Bailey Leslie Shelley and I live in Auckland, New Zealand (Aotearoa - Land of the Long White Cloud).
Over my short number of years I have:
1.  gained a degree in Civil and Structural Engineering from Wales
2.  worked in the defence sector in both active and passive roles
3.  worked in the area of security consultancy and design for major organisations in the UK and abroad
4.  designed and managed several high profile structural and building projects throughout the world (recently I designed and managed the public areas of the waterfront for the Americas Cup in New Zealand)
5.  and now, most recently, started working in the world of e-business.
You could say that I am one of those people that is fascinated by everything, and successful at the same time.  I doubt this is the last thing that I do.......
I have lived in New Zealand since February 16 1997, which is also my birthday, making me 29 next year.
Before then I spent my entire life living in the county of Hampshire in the South of England, where my parents live to this day.  Their names are Martyn Bailey Shelley and Paula Cable.  Although I have gathered information about the family the hardest problem is family surname spellings (SHELE, SHILLEY, SHELEY, etc) - I shall wait until I have confirmed the data first before I forward it on.
As for New Zealand - as far as I know there are only two blood relations over here.  Aubrey Quinn a cousin through my dads side of the family and also recent resident of New Zealand, and Louise Cable a cousin on my mums side and citizen of New Zealand since birth.
Other than that, thanks for your time and effort put into your website, and especially for the family history.  All very very interesting.
Bailey Shelley

From Alistair Shelley

I too am a Shelley, Alistair Shelley. I live in South East England, south of London in a town called Wallington, I am a keen sportsman and enjoy world-wide travel. My father confirms the fact that my family is directly related to the famous British poet. Your site is most interesting.    Yours   Alistair John Shelley,  15.

From Richard Shelley in Canada:

Greetings, My name is Richard Shelley. I was born in Newfoundland. I now live in Ottawa, Canada. I found your page while browsing. I have 6 brothers and seven sisters. Kind of a large, Irish family. I expect our heritage is one of Irish, Scottish and British, actually,considering the movement of our ancestors throughout the kingdom. From preliminary research, I've found that we most likely are descendants of the Irish, County Cork Shelley's. Though I am not completely sure. I like to think I'm a descendant of Percy's branch of the family. By the way, my e-mail address is

From Rod Shelley in Kansas City

Greetings From the USA! I was playing with one of the search engines, and found a familiar name! I couldn't resist dropping a note to say hello! I am a photographer / graphic artist / computer technician living in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. There are quite a few Shelleys living in this part of the country, all related in one way or another. My father just bought a computer, and after he gets comfortable using it (with my help, of course) we will be delving into some serious genealogical research. I'm sure eventually, we will find the line dating back to England. Supposedly, we're related however distantly to Percy B. Shelley (which means Frankenstein is part of the family!) I will read your Eureka articles at length - very interesting stuff - and I love Len's sculptures! You can find out a bit about me at my website: You can send me a regular e-mail to my EmailExpress address:

From Chris Shelley in Toledo, Ohio.

Hello fellow Shelleys of the World! Please send me some information on the Shelley relatives in the 90's. My name is Chris Shelley, son of John Shelley, currently living in Toledo, Ohio. E-mail

From Robert Shelley in Hanover, MA

I think that I am descended from a Robert SHELLEY that came to America (Scituate Massachusetts) about 1632, in the ship Lion/Lyon. I know nothing about his/the family in England.  Were they from one area at that time or was it a common name in various areas? Anything about the name is welcome,  THANKS Richard Shelley

From Joseph Shelley in the U.S.Army

I found your web page It is Great, I am Joseph Shelley, A Sergeant Major in the United States Army, From Boston Massachusetts. I have 5 Brothers and 3 Sisters all in the New England area. I am the Son of Horace John Shelley, He has 1 Brother Living in Washington and 6 Sisters. I think your page is great. Joseph E.Shelley

From Claudia Shelley in Mexico

Hello, my name is Claudia Shelley, I live in México City, I´m 33 years old and I have one son, he has 11 years old and his name is Carlos. My grandfather was Norvin Barret Shelley and his father was John Shelley, he comes to México City  (El Aguila Oil). I like/want  to know my family in other countries. I see Len's work and it is fabulous. I work in  production and I have a house casting. for advertising. Sorry my English is bad. Claudia Shelley, Funky Casting Productions

From Peter Clarkson, whose maternal grandmother was Jessie Shelley

Dear Mr./Mrs Shelley
As I surfed your web site, I came across the name Richard Shelley.  I attempted to contact him with the address on your Web site but his e-mail address is no longer valid.   So I make my request of you. My name is Peter Clarkson and I'm doing my family genealogy.  My maternal grandmother was Jessie Shelley of Southend on Sea in the UK. Of late I have been concentrating on the Clarkson side of the family tracing my roots back to the mid 1700's in Bromsgrove Worcester UK. I am now putting more effort into tracing my mother's side of the family.  The reason for this communiqué is the picture attached given to me from my grandmother's effects.  Besides your name, your comment about Percy's branch of the family caught my attention.  My Grandmother claimed for many years that she knew we were from the Percy Shelley line although could never provide any research to validate these claims.  My task will be to prove or disprove this claim. If you recognise this  picture , I would like to communicate further with you, if not I can only apologise for taking up your time. Pete Clarkson

From John Shelley in Australia

Hello Dr Tom and the rest of the Shelleys. I picked you up whilst browsing the Internet. My name is John Shelley. My paternal grandfather was Walter Shelley from Chelmsford, Essex. He was one of the sons of John and Jane Shelley (nee Emery) of Chelmsford. My grandfather came to Australia around 1888 and married my grandmother (a Bayley from Lewisham, Kent) at Maryborough, Queensland.You seem to be well informed as to the Shelleys and I am wondering if there is any information in your possession relative to my ancestors; if so I would be grateful to know. If you like I can pass on to you the rest of the Shelley saga in Australia.Regards, John Shelley

From Anne Carter Shelley in South Carolina

Dear Shelleys: Our Shelleys did not come to this country from England but rather from Amsterdam. They were among the Dutch settlers in up state New York. Anne Carter H. Shelley (E-mail address supplied, responses through please)

From Jim Shelley in South Carolina

I just saw your page and thought I would say hello! I am a Realtor in Myrtle Beach South Carolina, USA. My family has been in this area well over 200 years. It is very interesting that we could be relatives! I have included my picture. Have a good day!
Thanks, James Carlisle Shelley 

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