Surname Howley - Meaning and Origin
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Howley: What does the surname Howley mean?
The last name Howley is of Irish origin, deriving from the Gaelic name O'hUallaigh. The name suggests a descendant of Uallach, a personal name meaning "proud" or "arrogant". The Howley surname may also be a derived from the Old Norse term "haug-leysa", meaning "leveller of mounds". Over time, it has evolved into its modern form, adapting to the English language and Irish orthographic rules. Therefore, bearing this last name generally implies an ancestral connection to Ireland, specifically areas such as Connacht and Mayo, where the name was prominent. It's worth noting that the meaning and regional origin of a surname can provide interesting insights into ancestral history, yet they do not conclusively define individual stories, characteristics, or personal history.
Howley: Where does the name Howley come from?
The surname Howley is of Irish origin, deriving from the Old Gaelic "O hUallaigh," which translates to "descendant of the proud prince." The name traces its roots back to ancient times when the O'Howley clan were known as a literary family in Connaught, Ireland. They held ecclesiastical posts and were known as hereditary historians to the O'Connors of Connaught, a significant Irish royal dynasty.
Today, the surname Howley is still commonly found in Ireland, with a specifically high concentration in counties Mayo and Roscommon, situated in the Connaught province where the family used to hold a family seat. However, due to historical circumstances like the Great Famine and resulting emigration, the surname can also be found in countries where Irish people have settled, such as the United States, Canada, and Australia.
Variations of the surname Howley
The surname Howley has several variants and spellings that could have originated from the same roots. These include Howly, Hawley, Hauley, Holley, Hooley, Hoolie, Houley, and Houghley.
The origin of the surname Howley could either be English or Irish. In context of English origin, Howley could have come from a place name such as Hawley in Hampshire or Kent where 'haw' means a hedge or enclosure and 'ley' means a clearing or meadow. So, possible variants in English could also include Hawly, Hawleigh or Hauely.
In the context of Irish origin, Howley could derive from the Gaelic Ó hUallaigh, which maybe Anglicised as O'Howley, O'Hally, O'Hooly, or simply Hally and Hooley as well. There is also another Irish surname Ó hEalaighthe which is often Anglicised as Holly and could potentially be a root origin.
These variations in the surname Howley were often a result of scribes and church officials recording the name phonetically, leading to many spelling variations. It was not uncommon for a family's surname to be recorded under several different spellings in historical documents.
Famous people with the name Howley
- Jack Howley: a popular American actor, musician, and writer.
- William A. Howley: an American bishop and the first Roman Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
- John Howley: an English basketball coach known for his work with the South East London Royals.
- Brigid Howley: an Irish politician and former Lord Mayor of Cork.
- Emma Howley: an Australian equestrian and Olympian.
- Tim Howley: an American author, business strategist, and former professional basketball player.
- Dave Howley: an English former professional footballer and manager.
- Bill Howley: a professional American football player who played for the Boston Patriots and Buffalo Bills.
- William Howley: the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1828 to 1848.
- Jackie Howley: a British actor and television presenter.
- Gabriel Howley: a Hamilton-based Ontario artist and printmaker.
- Jake Howley: an English football player who played for Fleetwood Town FC.
- Al Howley: an American professional football defensive lineman who played 11 seasons in the NFL.
- Mike Howley: a Canadian professional ice-hockey goalie.
- Ed Howley: an American former professional golfer who competed on the PGA Tour.