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Owsley Coat of Arms / Owsley Family Crest

Owsley Coat of Arms / Owsley Family Crest

This surname of OWSLEY is an English habitation name from an unidentified place, perhaps from residence near the river OUSE + LEAH (wood clearing). The name is also spelt OUSLEY, OUSELEY and OWSELEY. The surname was brought to North America by Major Thomas OWSLEY in about 1677; he was born in Stogursey in Somerset. Habitation names were originally acquired by the original bearer of the name, who, having lived by, at or near a place, would then take that name as a form of identification for himself and his family. When people lived close to the soil as they did in the Middle Ages, they were acutely conscious of every local variation in landscape and countryside. Every field or plot of land was identified in normal conversation by a descriptive term. If a man lived on or near a hill or mountain, or by a river or stream, forests and trees, he might receive the word as a family name. Almost every town, city or village in early times, has served to name many families. Other records of the name include Newdigate OWSLEY and Elizabeth Jones, who were married at Canterbury, Kent in the year 1684, and John Sheffield and Ann OUSLEY were wed at the same place in 1688. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. In the Middle Ages the Herald (old French herault) was an officer whose duty it was to proclaim war or peace, carry challenges to battle and messages between sovereigns; nowadays war or peace is still proclaimed by the heralds, but their chief duty as court functionaries is to superintend state ceremonies, such as coronations, installations, and to grant arms. Edward III (1327-1377) appointed two heraldic kings-at-arms for south and north, England in 1340. The English College of Heralds was incorporated by Richard III in 1483-84.


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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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