Hanley Family History
The Hanley ancient family history was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. The surnames Hanley, Handley and Hanly are the anglicized forms of the Irish O'hAinle, which is derived from the Gaelic word 'alainn', meaning 'beautiful'. In modern Irish 'ainle' means 'a swallow'. The ancient sept of O'Hanly originated on the banks of the Shannon in County Roscommon where the placename Doohyhanly perpetuates their connection with that district. These O'Hanlys were branches of the royal house of O'Conor. Their establishment in Cork was comparatively late. The name is almost entirely confined to Roscommon in the census of 1659 and in earlier records. Since the end of the seventeenth century Henley, Henly and Hendley have been used in Munster, especially in County Cork, as variant forms of Hanley.The Hanley family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Hanley descendants.