Michael Cayley

Michael Cayley

Privacy Level: Private with Public Biography and Family Tree (Yellow)
Michael F. Cayley
Born 1950s.
Ancestors ancestors
[sibling(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Profile manager: Michael Cayley private message [send private message]
Account confirmed 19 Aug 2017 | Michael's 15158 contributions | 1597 thank-yous received
Profile last modified | Created 19 Aug 2017
This page has been accessed 1,215 times.
Wiki Genealogist Pre-1500 One Name Studies Project Member Community Star Notables Project Member European Aristocrats Project Member Connector Generous Genealogist - Red Star Family Star Big Heart Categorization Project Member United Kingdom Project Member Pre-1700 G2G6 December 2018 Club 1,000 Honor Code Signatory
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Categories: Cayley Name Study | European Aristocrats Project | Chelsea, London | Brighton College | St John's College, Oxford | MatchBot MPs | Magna Carta Project Affiliates.

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Michael Cayley is a Magna Carta Project affiliate.


I was educated at Brighton College, Sussex, England and St John's College, Oxford. I am a retired United Kingdom civil servant with an extensive set of data on people with the surname Cayley. I maintain a Cayley family history website at Cayley Family History

I am descended from the first Cayley baronet, who was one of the Cayleys associated with Brompton, Yorkshire.

I have been researching genealogy for almost 30 years, going back to medieval times.

One Name Studies

I am active in the following One Name Studies:


  • First-hand information. Entered by Michael Cayley at registration.

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Followed Tags
Michael is a Wiki Genealogy Volunteer following these tags:
A variant on the Cayley surname
I am starting to add categories to profiles I visit, and to include categories in profiles I create
I have an extensive set of information on people with the surname Cayley, and maintain a family history website for the surname at https://cayleyfamilyhistory.wordpress.com/. I welcome queries and information about members of Cayley families.
I want to help link more people into the global tree
A small way in which I can improve Wikitree is to help with Data Doctor challenges
I have started adding information about medieval ancestors and their relatives by marriage who were knights and notes
I am keenly interested in GDPR as it affects Wikitree
My Cayley ancestors have several links with Legards. I hope to add to Legard information on Wikitree.
I regard it as essential to avoid incorrect automatic merges of profiles
I am undertaking a Cayley Name Study and among the Cayleys and those linked to them are several people who are notable. When I do minor editorial changes to Notable profiles, and create new profiles and research their ancestry. I also have created or expanded a number of biographical entries of notables on Wikipedia.
I have Nowells in my family tree and am involved in the Nowell Name Study.
I have a Cayley one name study
I have done research on pre-1500 ancestors and related families. I am willing to help with pre-1500 research for England.
Even more so with GDPR, getting privacy issues right is vital for Wikitree.
I am involved in two One Name Studies
I am adding extensive UK information to Wikitree, particularly on members of the Cayley family and linked families.

DNA Tested
Michael Cayley's DNA has been tested for genealogical purposes. It may be possible to confirm family relationships by comparing test results with Michael or other carriers of his ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA. Y-chromosome DNA test-takers in his direct paternal line on WikiTree:

Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.


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On 5 Oct 2018 at 06:30 GMT Michael Cayley wrote:

Andrew, I will message you privately, probably later today. I do not want to discuss DNA match results on a public webpage. What I would say here - and you will know - is that neither Rand not I have any control over the automated way Wikitree handles the minimal DNA test info it has been given (in my case, just that I have taken a test and belong to a particular haplogroup). I would never rely on what Wikitree shows for anyone’s DNA links. The DNA link shown with William the Conqueror will be simply because Wikitree shows Gilbert de Brionne as father of the earliest Cailly. As you know, I think that is likely to be wrong, and have put research notes on Wikitree questioning that. And there is still debate about Gilbert’s own origins.

On 4 Oct 2018 at 21:37 GMT Andrew Lancaster wrote:

I've had some experience in Y DNA also. I am interested. Did you actually match Rand? Just to be clear, on both your pages and all the ones we are discussing, and even William the conqueror, you and Rand are currently being shown as people in the same male line. That is very striking and unusual. And there are clearly a lot of uncertain connections we'd need to confirm to make this remain so, but there has to be a chance some are too un-sourceable to keep?

So I am happy to hear that's not a concern.

On 4 Oct 2018 at 18:39 GMT Michael Cayley wrote:

Thanks for the offer of help, Andrew. I may well take you up on that.... My having taken a DNA test - a few months ago - has had no influence on how I handle research. Let alone how I handled research over some 30 years before I took the test! I am afraid I am still a DNA ignoramus, don’t really understand how to use it for genealogy, and prefer old-fashioned methods. I suspect we are at one as regards that preference. My ignorant assessment is that DNA results should be treated as no more than a supplement to “real research”. What the DNA results seem to have done - and I have relied on someone much more expert on DNA than I am to reach this conclusion - is to eliminate the possibility of some ancestral connections that had been put to me. That has probably saved me a lot of time and debate. Apparently I have an unusual set of DNA, which matches my being peculiar in other ways, and the eccentricity of all Cayleys I know.

On 4 Oct 2018 at 17:38 GMT Andrew Lancaster wrote:

Patience I can do and yes I think you can do it. I just know you have a stake in that Y DNA line, but all of us sometimes have those types of issues sometimes and in my experience it works out best to just keep following a methodologically skeptical approach. Even if it leads to problems for some hypotheses (which it might not in this case) it will surely also open up better understanding also in other directions. Let me know if you need any support or help. The family is genealogically important no matter how we see it and we are genealogists.

On 4 Oct 2018 at 11:02 GMT Michael Cayley wrote:

Thanks, Andrew. I think we both enjoy seeking out sources. I often go (carefully!) well beyond obvious well-known works. Quite a bit of my research was done before the days of book digitisation. Some sources I have used remain not digitised, and of course a lot of books in copyright are not available online. If you ever spot me referring to a source without a web-link and you know there is a digitised version now, please add the link. On uncertainties, you will have gathered by now that I am a believer in discussing significant uncertainties in research notes in profiles. As you know, I am planning to do more work on the Cailly and Cailly-related profiles as I have time, drawing on my 30 years’ research. So expect to see them expanded and improved. But be patient!

On 4 Oct 2018 at 08:49 GMT Andrew Lancaster wrote:

No worries, and don't hesitate to ask advice because I seem to be faster than most at finding online sources. Concerning the ongoing work just to reiterate, each uncertain link should be marked as uncertain, but uncertain links are still links which require (1) some sort of real evidence, and (2) should be only used for proposals that are not only likely, but clearly more likely than any other known option or proposal. So that is how I work and certainly not only me, and so please try to also get it more clearly that way in these families where you are concerned someone might misunderstand.

On 3 Oct 2018 at 13:54 GMT Michael Cayley wrote:

Thanks for the link to the Farrer page on Wikitree, Andrew.

On 3 Oct 2018 at 11:10 GMT Andrew Lancaster wrote:

Michael I think the best approach to all your concerns is to make sure the sources (especially the primary ones, and the scholarly modern ones) are all clear. Farrer I'll continue to try to propose changes before I make them. Farrer is available online https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Honors_and_Knights%27_Fees

On 2 Oct 2018 at 20:33 GMT Michael Cayley wrote:

A lot of my own focus over some 30 years has been on the English end, though there are still significant uncertainties for the period to around 1150 and some after that. I agree some things for this period are fairly clear, but some links between generations are much less so. It was the branch who remained largely in France in the decades after the Conquest who were caught up in much of the confusion I found on Wikitree early this year. Anyway let us see whether we can cast more light. I live in England and haven’t had access to Farrer or to William Sealy since I left London some 15 years ago, but I own, or have downloaded digital copies of, many of the other main sources and am a frequent user of British History Online.

On 2 Oct 2018 at 18:17 GMT Andrew Lancaster wrote:

Yes my impression is that tracking from Domesday William might not be possible, but at certain points there are chunks of pedigree that seem reconstructable in the English manors. At this time it is very difficult to see, because there seems to be a focus upon the French families and trying to link them to England. The first step has to be working out what is known, what is likely but uncertain, and what is pure speculation. After that we will see where the gaps and interesting things are. Often it leads to new discoveries.

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