Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Worley - What's in a name?

What's in a name, in particular, the name 'Worley'? 

Jo Anne Worley, Laugh In, 1969

The question arises because of my wife's family genealogy, in general her great great great grandfather Valentine Worley Van Huss, and in particular, her great great great grandmother Elizabeth Worley and her great great great great grandmother Catherine Worley.

Worley - English: possibly a place name, either from a variant spelling of Wortley, in which case a town near Sheffield; or alternatively in Essex and Somerset called Warley, from Old English weir  'a low level dam for fishing' + leaha clearing in the woods’; or from Warley in West Midlands, from Old English weorf ‘draft oxen’ + leah

Werle (Verle) – German: a shorten version of Werner, or Verner (Scandanavian) derived from warin from a military word meaning 'guard' or 'vanguard'.
Werle (or Wenden) - a fiefdom, Herrschaft, roughly the same as a barony, in the Holy Roman Empire founded in 1235. 

Vanguard comic first issue,
or alternate source for the name Worley, Werner

Catherine Worley was the mother of Matthias Van Huss. Elizabeth Worley married Matthias. Surely the two Worleys are related, but how is unknown. 

Matthias and Elizabeth had one child Valentine Worley Van Huss. When he was two years of age, his mother died. Matthias remarried to Lavinia Dugger and the couple had nine children, half brothers and sisters to Valentine. 

Valentine would grow up and leave for Kansas with his sons to homestead in Butler County. They settled on one of the few places in Butler County that didn't have oil underground so they had to scrape by for a living.

What about the three Worleys, Elizabeth Worley (1798-1820) and Catherine Worley (1769-1795) and Jo Anne Worley, comedian on Laugh In, famous for her swirl and infectious laugh.

Add Catherine Worley here... 

Elizabeth Worley was born in Wythe, Virginia, on 1798 to Valentine Worley and Anna Barbara Spraker. Valentine was born in Rowan, North Carolina, on 1772 to Michael Worley and Anna Reigher. Michael was born in Ontario, Canada on 1750 to Jacob Worley and mother unknown. Jacob hailed from Germany. 

This genealogy is uncertain, especially Jacob Worley. 

Jacob has an alternate spelling of his last name as Werle and he was from Alsace, Germany. Others trace the Worley name to Lancashire, England and further back to Normandy, and eventually the Vikings who settled in Normandy, but this is speculation.

What is in a name? Don't we each make a name for ourselves? Or as the Bible says in Genesis 11:4, 

"Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth."

But then again, we know how that turned out.

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