Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Four generations of (American) Kearsleys are represented in this photograph.
Jonathan Kearsley in the portrait behind, Edmund Roberts Kearsley, son of Jonathan,
sitting with his daughter Rebecca Kearsley & her baby Margaret between them.
In an attempt to find missing relatives living in Scotland in the 1700s the project began by focusing its attention on reconstructing the genealogies of Kearsleys from the United Kingdom starting with England's Durham and Lancashire Counties and the town of Kearsley, long thought to be a key point of origin for the first Kearsleys. Knowing there had been at one time related cousins in Durham we hoped (and still do) that by establishing key Kearsley lines in these two counties and then Y-DNA testing a Kearsley from each we might be able to find a match to a single remaining family in the United States related to Jonathan Kearsley who emigrated in 1738-1740. Admittedly a long shot but our best hope.
We have continued to expand our project to include other counties and now have a database which includes 18 British counties as well as most of the UK, Australia, Canada and the United States. A search for missing relatives in Scotland has become a one-name study worldwide and an interesting look into a family that began exploring the world sometime before the 1700s and never stopped.
Please contact us if you are interested in contributing to the project. We welcome a wide range of Kearsley descendants to participate in our study. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Variants: Kersley & Keirsley (others to be determined)
Similar surnames: Carslile, Carsley, Chersly, Corsleyn Kearsly, Karsley, Kiersley, Kerseley, Kirsley, Korsley, Garsley.
Kearsley is one of the oldest surnames found in England today. From the Olde English, pre 7th century, it is a combination of the words “caers” meaning cress & “leah” meaning a clearing or glade –therefore a clearing where cress grows.
The town of Kearsley in Lancashire was first recorded as Cherselawe in 1187 and the Lancashire pipe rolls of Willelmus Cherselawe were also found there. The name Kearsley in 1220 was Kersleie in the Registry of Cockersand Abby and 400 years later Rodgerius Kerselaie’s death was recorded in 1620. A short time later, in 1687, William Kearsley & Ales Bancks were married in Wigan, Lancashire.
Kearsleys of note: From the family of Jonathan & Jane Kearsley of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania who emigrated to America ca. 1738.
Relationships acknowledged but as yet undetermined:
Less well known but just as important Kearsleys were also weavers, cotton brokers, coal miners, coach builders, farmers, inn keepers, timber merchants, brick layers, hatters, publishers, judges, agricultural laborers, and members of Parliament.
The Kearsley name is found throughout the world with large concentrations in England (its point of origin), Australia, Canada, & the United States. Smaller clusters of the name are found in Scotland and South Africa.
We are currently seeking male relatives with the surname Kearsley (or variant) to join our Y-DNA project. Family Tree DNA is hosting our DNA results.
View our progress later at https://www.familytreedna.com/public/Kearsley/
The Kearsley mailing list at email@example.com. Please join. We welcome your queries and input.
The Kearsley message board
The Kearsley DNA study with FT-DNA can be seen as it progresses at http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Kearsley/
You may find our other Guild websites of interest: