Family Data




From Wales via Devonshire 
Welch Flag

The name is not common in Wales today. It exists in several counties in England, but at the time the first Filley came to America in the 17th century the name was confined mostly to the county of Devonshire in the Southwest part of England just east of Cornwall and south of Wales. The spelling of the name is various through the centuries as O' Fielly, Feely, Fihilley, Fiely, Philleagh, Philley, and Filley. Its meaning is from the gaelic Filied', with a silent "d". It means poet, songmaker, or bard. One of the most famous of medieval castles in Europe is Caerphilly in Wales near Cardiff. Although there is some controversy about whether the name was originally Irish or Welch, it was definitely Celtic. The rest is politics.


Yelland, M. T. Westbrooke, Genealogical Report completed for Alice K. Filley Johns, (reprinted in the Filley/Philley Family Newsletter), April 1987.

Woulfe, Patrick, Irish Names and Surnames, M.H. Gill and Sons, Dublin, 1923.