Re: Holley origins ?? (Ire., Eng., Scot.)
Hopefully this posting will help explain why there are numerous countries of origin forHOLLEY/HOLLY surnames.In recent years, I've found it helpful to read some history about the country or state where my ancestor lived.
RE: the origins of surnames, ie. Scot, Irish, English:Ireland's first Christian religion was Catholicism. The Anglican Church was THE Church of England (remember Henry VIII?), established in defiance of the Pope and of the Roman Catholic church. When Ireland came under British rule, Protestants were"imported" to Ireland---from Scotland, Wales, and England, by the British Crown,to facilitate the demise of Irish Catholicism (and its allegiance to the Pope in Rome).
Irish Catholics who would not denounce their religion had their land and rights taken away and were basically banished to the inhospitable and barren west coast of Ireland, where about the only thing that grew well was potatoes. This was the beginning of the long and violent conflict between the Protestant and Catholics in Ireland, and Ireland's struggle for independent rule.Many Catholics left Ireland then.
Many of the "imported" Protestants later emigrated also, after remaining for several generations or more (I was told this is where the term "Scot-Irish" came from).THe land of family estates was not divided among heirs but only passed to the eldest son. The younger sons had to go elsewhere to make their own way, and the promises of the America and Austrailia were compelling. They were Irish born and bred for several generations, but their ancestral roots were not in Ireland.And their surnames had evolved, too.
GOing farther back, there was a large number of Germans who ended up in Ireland,Scotland, and England circa 1710---related to the attempt by the Crown to lure masses of starving Germans to LOndon for free passage to the colonies...again, to import Protestants to counter the French Canadians (Catholic) who were coming down into the colonies. I just learned about this fascinating history at a recent seminar on the Palantines In America, and found it so interesting to hear the "Irish" surnames which were actually originally German surnames.
To further compound the "problem", Ireland is not the only country with Gaelic influence. The Celts invaded much of Europe at one time or another...there's even a small area in Spain where Gaelic is spoken.
Then, add the fact that many of the common folk were illiterate and even among the educated, there was no uniformity in spelling. Dictionairies and concensus on spelling in the English lnguage is a relatively recent thing (1800's I think). It is also true that census information was not necessarily provided by a member of the family, but could be provided by a neighbor...who may have been illiterate or unsure of spelling.
So, for genealogical purposes, the surnames HOLLEY,HOLLY,HOLY, HOLLIE, HAWLEY,etc. and all their variations are considered the SAME name, and should technically be on tne same message boards. It's not at all uncommon for the same name to be spelled different ways just among one generation, or even siblings.
It's so important to take this into consideration in research...otherwise folks can miss their own kin right under their noses! With my own surname BLAIN, I have to look at BLAIN, BLAINE, BLANE, BLANEY, BLAND, BALAIN. I even have to check out BLAIRS, because the 'N' in BLAIN often gets read as an "R", and vice versa.
Hope this little history lesson helps clarify for someone why there is such confusion about origins of surnames.