Presley Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Presley Meaning

Presley or Pressley in England is allied to the surname Priestley and
may come from an ancient place-name (found in Yorkshire and elsewhere)
or a term for a dweller by a priest’s wood or clearing.  Presley
in America often incorporated the German Preslar or Presler.

Presley Resources on

Presley Ancestry

and Scotland
.  As Priestley, one origin of the surname was
a place-name near Bradford in Yorkshire (the playwright J.B. Priestley
hailed from those parts).  Presley in the abbreviated form cropped
up there and in the southwest.  As Pressley the name is thought to
have originated in NE Scotland and crossed with the Scots Irish to

America.  In Virginia and
the Carolinas there were records of English Presleys and Irish
Pressleys.   Two early Presley families were the Presleys of
Northumberland county, Virginia, recorded there from 1647 to 1749 and
the Presley family that then followed in Fairfax county.  Irish
Pressley families were to be found in South Carolina from the 1730’s.

Some German Preslars changed their names to one of these
forms, it is thought, around the time of the Civil War.  Johann
Valentin Presler was an early 18th century German
immigrant to America.  His son Andreas settled in the then
area of the central Carolina border and is considered to be the male
ancestor of the “King,” Elvis Presley.

The 1920 census showed the Presley name mainly confined to the South,
bordered to the north by Tennessee, the east by the Carolinas, and the
west by Texas.

Presley Names

  • Elvis Presley, the “King,” was
    born in Tupelo, Mississippi and was discovered as a singer in Memphis, Tennessee in 1953.
  • Priscilla Presley, the ex-wife of Elvis Presley, was the founder of Elvis Presley Enterprises who helped to turn Graceland into a multi-million dollar tourist attraction.

Select Presley Numbers Today

  • 1,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Devon)
  • 5,000 in America (most numerous in Tennessee)
  • 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)



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