Stanleys from the UK & Ireland
Even those of you who have Stanley ancestors overseas will ultimately want to come here to check out the original Stanleys.
Surnames did not exist in England until the 13th century, so the Stanley name cannot be traced before that time. Many Stanleys alive today can trace their line back to a village called Stanley on the Staffordshire/Cheshire border. One theory states (or is assumed) that, excluding adopted Stanleys and Stanleys who changed their names (like the African explorer Stanley), all Stanleys should ultimately be linked back to this one root.
However in view of recent research published online by Nigel Stanley this argument is being tested and it may be that there is more than one “House of Stanley”, each with its own independent starting point.
Of course the multitude of descendants have spread across the globe since then. Proving the links back may not always be possible given that many manuscripts have been lost over time but with the new science of genetics on the horizon now maybe we have all the information we need right here under our noses in the form of genes? I’m sure this subject will be expanded on over the next few years and a lot of questions will be answered.
Please follow the links to the part of the UK and/or Ireland that interests you. If your Stanley ancestors came from Scotland then I would particularly like to hear from you due to the lack of records I have discovered about the Stanleys in this country.
See also the distribution of the family across the British Isles & Ireland.