Shirley (name)

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Shirley is a given name and a surname. Transferred use for the surname originating from the English place-name Shirley, which is derived from the Old English elements scire (shire) or scīr (bright, clear) and lēah (wood, clearing, meadow, enclosure). The name makes reference to the open space where the moot (an early English assembly of freeman which met to administer justice and discuss community issues) was held. Shirley was originally a male name, but its use in Charlotte Bronë's novel Shirley (1849) established it as a female name. The name is also common in Hebrew, in which it means "song unto me" or "I have a song".

Given name[edit]


Family name
Meaning habitational name for one who lived in one of the parishes called Shirley in the counties of Derbyshire, Surrey, Hampshire and the West Midlands.
Region of origin England

Shirley is a rather uncommon surname, with pockets of Shirleys living in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Canada, New Zealand, and parts of Great Britain.[citation needed] A work on the genealogy of the various branches of the Shirley family was published as Stemmata Shirleiana by E. P. Shirley in 1841. The history of Shirleys settling in souther NH is documented in the History of Old Chester,[1] NH by Benjamin Chase. The present generation of the Shirley family is only the most recent to bear a name that dates back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name comes from having lived in the parish of Shirley found in the counties of Derbyshire, Surrey, Hampshire and the West Midlands.

Shirley is the surname of the title character in Anne of Green Gables, a 1908 novel by Lucy Maude Montgomery about an orphan girl in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island.

In fiction[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Shirl, often a diminutive form of Shirley