Page last updated 30 October 2001
Possible Irish origin of the name Shelvey
By David Robert Shelvey
25th August 2001
There are several surname research centers that focus on trying to find the origin and meaning of the surnames used around this world. The task is not an easy one. Take the name John Robertson. Going back six or so generations you will find a guy named Robert whose son they named something like William Robertson not to confuse him the William the blacksmiths son. The name Shelvey can not be labeled as a surname. There are several people, living or dead, that their first name (or given name) is Shelvey. The United States Social Security Administration Death Databank even lists people that had Shelvey given to them as their middle name. Middle names normally come to us to remember the first name of our parents, relative, friend, or someone they recognize (like William the Concouror). In our above Robertson example John Robertson may actually be John William Robertson after William Robertson. In the Shelvey family tree you will find the first names of Daniel, William and James as popular first name and some of their children caring the name on as a middle name.
The surname Shelvey has been traced back to the early 1700s which means it was part of the fifteenth century acquiring of a surname like most of the population did. If the name is a term or title of occupation then there may be several surnamed Shelvey that are not related.
Going to different surname research centers the story they tell on the family name SHELVEY history are pretty much the same as follows:
The family name Shelvey is of Irish origin of the Gaelic language. It is an anglicization of the Gaelic "O Sealbhaigh indicating a "descendent of Sealbhaigh," an ancient first name derived from the word "selbhach" meaning "having many possessions, referring to an individual of wealth and influence." It is classified as being a personal name origin and derived its origins from the given name of one of the parents of its initial bearer. The name is also spelt SHALVEY, O' SHALVEY, SHALLY, SHALLOO, SHALLOW, SHEILY, SHELLEY and SHELLE. At first, the surname was formed by prefixing 'Mac' to the father's Christian name or 'O' to that of a grandfather or even an earlier ancestor. The name of O' Sealbhaigh was recorded in records as far back as The Annals of the Four Masters in 1140 where the death of Domhnall O' Sealbhaigh is recorded. In 1182 one Augushine O' Sealbhaigh was appointed Bishop of Waterford. This family also had five medieval bishops of York, all O' Sealbhaighs. In Leibrim there is one James Shelvey born in 1817 to a Timothy Shelvey and Marrella Shields.
Blazon of Arms: Argent a Chevron gules between three whelks sable.
Crest: A griffin's head erased argent beaked and ducally gorged Or.
Motto : Comme je brouve. Translation: As I find.
Motto : Fey e fidalgia. Translation: Faith and fidelity.
Origin - Ireland.
Additional Notes by Rob Shelvey - (September 2001)
Again this seems a feasable origin of the name Shelvey. Here are some additonal thoughts I had when reading this. Take all this as you will. I could be completely wrong, I'm just saying what I think.
Many names in England around 1500 seem to list the names
as John of Dover, David of Sandwich, but they wrote this John De Dover,
David De Sandwich, which kind of makes it look French but it isn't.
These place names may then have turned into surnames and possibly the
spelling changed a little. Also first middle and last names have always
been switched about through families
Additional Notes by Sean McGuire (22nd October 2001)
|In regards Irish origin of the surname Shelvey, I think that the majority of the surname would be of an English extraction. The surname O'Sealbhaigh means grandson or desendant of Sealbhach, the ig are a result of putting Sealbhach into the genitive case. Sealbhach was a 6th century petty king in Ireland he lived in Corcha Laoidhde, (Current day West Cork) The surname is pronounced Shall-Vig or Shall-Vee. When the English invaded Ireland they could not pronounce or spell Irish surnames so many corruptions occurred. Shelley or Shelly is the most common corruption they all retained the 'Shall' syllable. Shelley comes from an Anglo Saxon word ,shell or shall, which means a wood on a hill. There are places called Shelley in England and people from there were called Shelley. I would suggest that Shelvey has its origins in the same way ie people from a place called Shelvey were called Shelvey.|
...And more on Irish Shelveys, this sent to me by Dean Shelvey
This is from The Historical Research Center®, here goes -
BAZEN OF ARMS: Argent a chevron gules