This very interesting name is of Olde English and Anglo-Saxon origins from the period around the 8th Century A.D.. It derives from "Colig" meaning "dark or Swarthy" and was a descriptive word used by the fair haired and fair skinned Saxon invaders to describe the original "Olde English inhabitants", who were much darker in appearance. There is also a possibility that some name holders may derive from the Somerset "Colley" meaning "a balckbird" but the essential translation is the same. The name development includes Dande Colly (1219, Yorkshire) Philip Coli (1275, Worcester) Willelmus Colley (1379 Yorkshire), whilst Anne Coley married Myles Spence at Holy Trinity, York in 1599. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh Coly. which was dated 1212, the King Rolls of Yorkshire. during the reign of King John (nickname- Lackland) 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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