History of your Surname
Get access to Shirley family records.Start a 14-Day Free Trial

Shirley Family History

Shirley Surname Meaning

English: habitational name from any of the places so named such as Shirley (Warwickshire) Shirley in Millbrook (Hampshire) Shirley (Surrey) Shirley in Owston (Yorkshire) and Shirley (Derbyshire). The placenames probably derive from Old English scīr ‘bright’ + lēah ‘woodland clearing’ though some may have scīr ‘district shire’ as the initial element if they lie on a boundary; for example the Warwickshire place lies on the Warwickshire-Worcestershire boundary. The name Shirley first appears in Ireland in the late 17th century following the granting of lands to a Shirley family in the barony of Farney Monaghan.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, 2022

Similar surnames: Shipley, Shelley, Harley, Thorley, Hurley, Chipley, Sharpley, Smitley

Search for a relative to learn more about your family history.

Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

Black & white image of a young woman scientist

Where is the Shirley family from?

You can see how Shirley families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Shirley family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Shirley families were found in USA in 1880. In 1911 there were 67 Shirley families living in Ontario. This was about 39% of all the recorded Shirley's in Canada. Ontario had the highest population of Shirley families in 1911.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Shirley surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Shirley ancestors do for a living?

In 1921, Farmer and Income were the top reported jobs for men and women in the Canada named Shirley. 49% of Shirley men worked as a Farmer and 34% of Shirley women worked as an Income. Some less common occupations for Americans named Shirley were Engineer and Housekeeper. .

View Census Data for Shirley | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations In 1921

  • Farmer
  • Laborer
  • Labourer
  • Engineer

Top Female Occupations In 1921

  • Income
  • Farmer
  • Housekeeper
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Shirley family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 213,000 census records available for the last name Shirley. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Shirley census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search Canadian census records for Shirley

Passenger Lists

There are 13,000 immigration records available for the last name Shirley. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Canada, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all Shirley immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 33,000 military records available for the last name Shirley. For the veterans among your Shirley ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Shirley military records

You've only scratched the surface of Shirley family history

Discover More

What is the average Shirley lifespan?

Between 1942 and 2004, in the United States, Shirley life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1944, and highest in 2001. The average life expectancy for Shirley in 1942 was 51, and 72 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Shirley

Discover the unique achievements of ancestors in the Shirley family tree

Explore Your Tree

Browse profiles of historical people with the Shirley last name

Search for another surname
Enter last name/surname
Start a 14-Day Free Trial