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Milley Males Y-DNA Project

Discovering Connections
  • 15 members

About us

According to the House of Names website, the name Milley is Gaelic in origin and comes from O Maolmhuaidh based on the word “muadh” which means "noble" and "big and soft.". The surname likely originated in County Offaly, Ireland and from there it appears to have spread around the world as part of the Irish diaspora.

According to the genealogy site Geneanet, there are now Milley families recorded in the following countries:

·      France

·      United States

·      United Kingdom

·      Australia

·      Canada

·      Ireland

·      New Zealand

·      Sweden

·      Portugal

·      Netherlands

·      Belgium

·      Germany

·      Algeria

·      Morocco

·      Indonesia

·      Denmark

·      Egypt

One of these Milley diaspora families ended up as early settlers, called “planters” on the shores of Conception Bay,Newfoundland in the mid 18th century. Here they worked to make a living in the new world as part of the Newfoundland in-shore cod fishery. The term “planter” was to distinguish them from the seasonal fisherman who returned to their homes in England and Ireland during the harsh winter months.   

In 1804, in an effort to regulate disputes among the fisherman staying year-round on the shores of Newfoundland, regarding possession and rights of fishing rooms, beaches, flakes and land, Newfoundland’s Governor, Erasmus Gower, ordered an inventory to be taken of all fishing related property within 200 yards from the high-water mark. The claims of every merchant,planter, and boat keeper to the land he occupied were to be clearly defined. This official register, called the “Plantations Book” would then be used as evidence in any disputes that would arise.

The earliest entries recorded in the Plantations Book include these references to some of the first Milley settlers in Newfoundland:


Name and Description of the Room or Other Erections, with Its Exact Boundaries

In what Harbour, Cove, etc., Situated

Name-and-Residence of the Party Claiming Right to the Same

The Nature of that Claim

Date of this Entry


Christopher Harris 195 Yds. from E. to W. bounded on the E. by John Buckler on the W. by Thomas Millea 178 yds. from H.W.M. to the N. bounded on the N. by the woods 1 1/2 Stage 1 Flake 4 Houses 2 Gardens 1 Meadow

Northern Bay

C. Harris

Purchased from Wm. Newman for £10



Thomas Milley 112 yds. from E. to West bounded on the E. by Chris. Harris on the W. by Wm. Hogan 175 yds. from H.W.M. to the N. bounded on the North by the woods 1 Stage 1 Flake 3 Houses 2 Gardens

Thos. Milley

By deed of Gift from Ch. Harris



Jno. Johnson, Jr., 34 yds. from E. to West bounded on the E. and W. by Thos. Milley 190 yds. from H.W.M. to the N. bounded on the N. by the woods 1/2 S. 1 F. 2 Houses 2 Gardens.

Jno. Johnson Jr.

Purchased from Thos. Milley for £4



John Cummins and Thomas Fogarty, 138 yds. from E. to West bounded on the E. by Thos. Milley on the W. by himself 200 yds. from the N. bounded on the N. by the Woods 1 Stage 1 Flake 3 Houses 1 Garden

John Cummins & Thos. Fogarty

Purchased from Wm. Mullowney for £30



John Commins and Thos. Fogarty, 401 yds. from E. to W. bounded on the E. by himself on the W. by Thos. Fogarty 200 yds. from H.W.M. to the N. bounded on the N. by the woods and Thos. Milley's Garden 1/2 Stage 1 Flake 2 Houses 3 Gardens


Jno. Commins & Thos. Fogarty.

Purchased from Wm Mullowney for £30



Peter Melley, 46 yds. from S. to N. 71 yds. from E. to W. bounded on all sides by Jno. Commins. 1 garden

Western Bay

P. Melley

Bequeathed to him by his father's will



Edward Melly, 83 yds. from E. to West bounded on the E. by Clem. Poingdistre and Co. on the W. by Rd. Valentine 200 yds. from H.W.M. to the Southward bounded on the S. by the woods 1 S. 1 F. 3 H. 1 G. 1 M.


E. Melley

Purchased from Thos. Vokey for £15



Clem. Poingdistre & Co. 140 yds. from E. to W. bounded on the E. by the woods on the W. by Edward Milleay 200 yds. from H.W.M. to the S. bounded S. by the Woods. No buildings.


C.P. & Co.

Bequeathed to them by their father's Will


Growing up in the 1970’s in rural Newfoundland, Canada I was surrounded by many Milley cousins but I would hear countless stories of other uncles, aunts and cousins who had left Newfoundland in pursuit of work and better opportunities in mainland Canada or eastern United States.

For the past 20 years I have been diligently researching and documenting the Milleys who trace their roots back to Newfoundland in order to better understand my families place in this larger community of Milley families. I have scoured the historical records, read the obituarys, studied the family trees, talked to older family members and compiled a database with thousands of Milley names.     

More recently, in 2018, I had my first DNA test and the results of that test and one additional test since shows that most Milleys in Newfoundlnd, mainland Canada and eastern United States can all trace their roots back to the same very small geographic area in Conception Bay, Newfoundland with place names like Western Bay, Burnt Point, Blackhead and Northern Bay. Where they came from before settling in Newfoundland is still very much a mystery. Family legend has it that the Milleys came from Jersey or Guernsey in the English Channel. Maybe so as we know many of the early settlers were from those places. Or did they come directly from Ireland as the Y-DNA suggests we are ethnically Irish? Or did we arrive in Newfoundland via another country after leaving Ireland at some point. Its interesting to note that according to the genealogy site, Geneanet, the country with largest number of indexed individuals with the Milley surname is France.

The historical records in Conception Bay, Newfoundland pre-1816 are virtually non-existent and so the question of Milley origins will likely only be answered through Y-DNA testing and the sharing of knowledge.