This surname OLNEY was taken to Ireland by settlers. It was originally an English locational name 'of Olney' a parish in the diocese of Oxford, County Buckinghamshire. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. Following the Crusades in Europe a need was felt for a family name. This was recognized by those of noble blood, who realised the prestige and practical advantage it would add to their status. Early records of the name mention Walter de Olnei, 1273, County Oxfordshire. John de Onleye, County Oxford. ibid. William de Olneye was documented in County Buckinghamshire in the year 1322. John Olney and Sarah Bubrick were married at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, in the year 1729. Richard Ody married Jane Olney at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1801. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name. The arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Registered in County Buckinghamshire.
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