Thanks for the message Connie. Since posting my initial inquiry/speculations, I have become even more convinced that in the USA at least,the pronunciation of this surname is indeed a clue, and that thespelling is of little guidance. Remember that spelling conventions didn't become "set" until the mid 19th century. Seems that most "long O" Crowleys/Croleys in the USA descend from Jeffrey Croley/Crowley, the illegitimate son of an Englishman and one of hisIrish maidservants (in England). Jeffrey migrated to America in the mid 18th century (I think) and founded this line with his wife Effie [surname unknown]. If you haven't already found it, there isa Rootsweb message board that will give you massive amounts of information about this. Go to http://boards.ancestry.com/mbexec?htx=board&r=rw&p=Surnames.Croleyhttp://boards.ancestry.com/mbexec?htx=board&r=rw&p=Surnames.Croley Also, there is a Croley/Crowley email list that is quite informative. Contact June Bork at email@example.com June is among the most knowledgeable Croley/Crowley genealogists out there and is VERY helpful. Tell her I referred you.
Sadly, I am still at a brick wall in my research: I am pretty sure that Jeffrey and Effie are in my line but I can't find the parents of my oldest known ancestors-- John J. Crowley(b.1808) andElizabeth Baker (1810-1866), who migrated to middle Tennessee "from Virginia" ca 1825-1830while she was pregnant with my ggggrandfather William Grundy Crowley. They were VERY young when they left "Virginia" and John was (or became) very sick when they made the journey-- their son William was born only a month after their arrival and John J. Crowley died a month after that. I figure they eloped or that Elizabeth became pregnant before they left Va and they ran off. Because of these circumstances no one seems to know who their parents were or where in Virginia they came from ( could have been the current Va or West Va, which wasn't created until the Civil War). Still looking/hoping for a break, so please keep me and these young pioneers in mind.... Good hunting. Carl Crowley