Recorded as Cearley, Carley, Curley, Kerley, Turley, Terry, McTerrelly, and others, this is an Irish surname. It is found particularly in the counties of Galway and Roscommon. It is a developed form of the pre 10th century Gaelic name "Mac Thoirdealbhoigh". This means literally "The son of Thor" , the personal name Toridhealbhach, having as its first element the Viking-Scandinavian "Thor" the god of thunder, and "dealbhach", meaning "in the shape of". In the Census of Ireland in 1659 MacTerlagh and MacTurlough, appear among the principal Irish names in County Limerick. The places Ballymacurley and Curleys Islands are both found in Roscommon, thus emphasising the connection of the name with that area. The name is also recorded in London church registers and include that on October 21st 1621 of Sara Curley who was christened at St. Botolph without Aldgate, whilst at St. Peters Drogheda, Gerald Kurley married Mary White on February 5th 1748. The first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of Syslay Kerley. This was dated February 18th 1569, when he was christened at St. Andrew Holborn, in the city of London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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