I have had an interest in the origins of my family, especially my namesakes the Shirley's for as long as I can remember. In 1999 I bought my first computer and shortly afterwards I discovered how popular Genealogy was on the internet. This was all the incentive I needed to start researching my Shirley family in earnest. Starting with my grandparents names and ages I have pieced together my branch of the family and then with the tremendous help of another New Zealand Shirley family rsearcher was able to join all the known branches of the family together in New Zealand which also included information on where they came from in England, this being Horsington in Somerset where the name was spelt SHARLEY.
Our Horsington Shirley (William) came from Ringwood in Hampshire and sadly William's parents are as far as we have been to go back and this represents what in genealogical terms is described as a "brickwall", as the orgins of William's father Thomas are unknown. It's this search for Thomas's origins that have given birth to this whole website and in particular this section of my website as I continue to accummulate more and more information on West Country SHIRLEY families. My search is presently concentrated on the Blackmore Vale area of Dorset and will take some years to complete due to the difficulty of accessing records for this County. Research up to now tends to show very scattered families during the 1600's and 1700's into Ringwood in Hampshire, around Donhead in Wiltshire and Henstridge/Horsington in Somerset. All these families only appeared for a short while and then disappear. There are many references to Shirley's on the Blackmore Vale at various locations over the centuries which is why my search is currently with these Parishes. To my knowledge there is currently only one other person (Carol Lloyd) researching any of the West Country Shirley Families. Carol is descended from the only Shirley Family that lived in Cornwall for any length of time.
As I get time I am now adding to the respective County's below details of baptisms, burials, marriages and notes on each family that I find in the search for my own Shirley's. I suspect that many of these families maybe linked but finding the missing links is a challenge in itself.
Please enjoy your visit and if you are researching any of the Shirley families in any of these Counties or even Kent and Sussex or suspect one of these families (especially the Hampshire ones) maybe connected to a Shirley family from a different part of England please do contact me if you can help or would like help yourself.
Links to other Shirley Family Resources:
The Shirley Association - Probably the most valuable resource of all, for Shirley Family researchers. Access to the England Section is now only available to Shirley Association members which considering the amount of paid research being done in England at the moment is probably well worth the US$20.00 per annum membership fee.