Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Category: 1 - A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is in its early stages.
DNA website: www.familytreedna.com/groups/ackley/about
Contact: Mr Michael Ackley
The origin of the Ackley surname can be found in a book by Charles Wareing Bardsley called "A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames, with Special American Instances" . Here is the Ackley entry from page 39 of this book:
There are a number of interesting points in this small entry. Bardsley categorizes Ackley as a "local" surname; i.e., it comes from a location, namely an oak meadow. He says that it is the exact equivalent of Oakley, and gives some examples of people throughout history who have had the name. Note that he allows (as I am sure we have all seen), spelling variations from the now standard Ackley spelling. The "A" after Ralph de Ackle refers to the reference material from which Bardsley extracted Ralph's record; it is the "Hundred Rolls, 1273", which were a survey of land ownership conducted in England and Wales in 1274-5 and 1279-80. "Hundred" refers to an administrative division that is part of a larger geographical area, such as a county. One further item of interest is the q.v. after Oakley; this stands for the Latin quod vide, which translates literally to "which see". This is just a way to tell us to go look at the entry for Oakley for more information. Here it is:
So, the Ackley name seems to come from the fact that the family (or families) who originally took the name lived in a clearing surrounded by oak trees. That could be almost anywhere, but it is reasonable to consider that maybe there is an actual place named Ackley (or Oakley) that got its name in the same way; i.e., it was an area surrounded by oak tress.
The Ackley surname is most frequently found in the United States, where it is the 4,887th most common surname. As of 2014 , these are the five locations where the Ackley surname is most frequently found:
There is an Ackley Surname Project at Family Tree DNA. The project home page can be found here. To date, 24 men with the Ackley surname have done some level of Y-DNA testing, and four distinct Ackley lines have been identified from this testing. The majority of the testers are descendants of Nicholas Ackley, the first known Ackley in America. Another small group of men who currently carry the Ackley surname have been identified as descendants of Johan Hendrick Eckler; one of their ancestors changed his surname to Ackley. Two other Ackley men, one from New Zealand (with known English ancestors) and one from England, have tested and do not match each other or any of the other Ackley men in the project.
Our DNA project welcomes new members -- we are especially interested in Ackley men from England who would be interested in testing. If you are an Ackley male or know of one who is interested in testing, please contact me either here on the ONS site or from the home page of the project at FTDNA.
Ackley Family Genealogy Blog
Ackley Family Genealogy Website
You may find our other Guild websites of interest: