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Bailey family page


Arthur Herbert Bailey, see Great War service and gravestone below

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Origins of surname

This name has three distinct origins.

  • Occupational - a name for a steward or official from the Old French "baillis" or "bailif", and middle English "bail". The word survives in Scotland as "bailie", the title of a municipal magistrate, but in England has developed into "bailiff", an officer of the court.
  • Topographical - denoting one who lived by the outermost wall of a castle or fortified town from the middle English "bail(l)y" as can be seen in the case of the Old Bailey in London which was part of the early medieval walls.
  • Locational -from Bailey, in Lancashire which means "berry wood"

Early records

Bailey, a surname which arrived in Jersey from England, first makes an appearance in Jersey registers in the first deccade of the 19th century. Edouard Bailey, a soldier, married Elizabeth Le Cras in St Brelade in 1806, and their daughter Elizabeth was baptised in St Helier the following year. One cannot help wondering if he was called Edward when he came to the island, but either changed the spelling or was simply recorded as Edouard to fit into the local community.

He was followed by a succession of soldiers and others from the south of England who married local girls and started families in the early part of the 19th century. By no means all of them remained in the island. Thomas Bailey, who married Elizabeth Pritchard in Mauritius a year after their first daughter was born there, came to the island in 1851 with his wife and two daughters. Another daughter and a son were born in Jersey in 1852 and 1854, but by 1857, when their last daughter was born, the family were back in the Midlands, from where they had originally come.


  • Bailey
  • Le Bailly, le Bailiff, le Bailif etc are not recognised as variants in Jersey. They are separate families which a much longer ancestry in the island

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