Michael Cayley
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Michael Cayley

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Signed 19 Aug 2017 | 73545 contributions | 9810 thank-yous
Communication Preferences: I am interested in communicating private message with anyone who shares the same genealogical or historical interests. Here is my family tree. Ancestors ancestors
I am a Leader of two WikiTree Projects, Magna Carta and Medieval.
Michael F. Cayley
Born 1950s.
Ancestors ancestors
[sibling(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Profile manager: Michael Cayley private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 19 Aug 2017 | Last significant change: 1 May 2022
00:06: Admin WikiTree added the April 2022 Club 1000 badge for Michael Cayley. [Thank Admin for this]
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Wikitree Activity


I am co-leader of the Magna Carta and Medieval Projects.


I was educated at Brighton College, Sussex, England and St John's College, Oxford. I am a retired United Kingdom civil servant almost all of whose career centred on advising successive goverments on policy matters (frequently giving unwelcome advice!), helping draw up legislation, seeing new laws were properly introduced, and monitoring the effect of policies.

My Interest in Genealogy

I am descended from the first Cayley baronet, who was one of the Cayleys associated with Brompton, Yorkshire. I have an extensive set of data on people with the surname Cayley. I maintain a Cayley family history website at Cayley Family History.

I have been researching genealogy for over 30 years. The person who started my interest was an eccentric and diminutive aunt who had inherited albums of old family photos and a set of family portraits going back to the 18th century, and who had gathered a collection of documents and letters from the 1790s to the first half of the 20th century, the most interesting of which the family donated to the British Library after her death. Despite her small size, my aunt was formidable; and from childhood I was not allowed to forget that facts, documentation and stories about forebears were to be treasured. Cousins, near and distant, were often to be seen at her home and she hoovered up family information from them with avidity. Nowadays email makes that much easier, and one of the pleasures of recent years has been establishing email contact with cousins in other countries and exchanging data with them.

My work was based in central London, which meant I had access to some of the best repositories in the UK. Spending time off in them was welcome relief from the demands of high pressure jobs. By the time I retired, digitisation of genealogical sources had started, which was just as well, as I moved to a small island off the South coast of England.

I am as interested in the social history ancestors’ lives reveal, and the incidents and stories that bring them to life, as in ‘who begat whom’.

For me a lot of the joy of genealogy is the research, especially when I track down a recondite source which solves a conundrum or which establishes links that standard genealogical reference works have missed. As those who enjoy travelling know, the journey can - with all its periodic difficulties - be as interesting as the destination. Along the way there is always something new to learn, and sometimes it is good to spend time on byways, or to postpone going to the originally intended destination and divert to somewhere different.

My WikiTree Directive

To aid WikiTree in the administration of my account should I be incapacitated, or in the event of my death, I hereby give permission for all private and public profiles I'm presently managing, including my own profile, to be transferred to community members on my trusted list or to the Leadership Team to be farmed out to any interested party or parties.


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Comments: 59

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Hi Michael

This is a regular check-in, you know the drill. I appreciate everything you are doing on Wikitree and your sagacious advice not just to the wider community but to me as well, when I have needed it. I doubt if you are looking for change, I know you would say so if this was the case but just so you know, that the door is always open if you wish to discuss options. Kindest Regards Mike

posted by Michael Christmas
Michael, do you if your family is related to the Caley Family in Heacham, Norfolk. An old book I’ve just found says that the name of Caley is derived from the French family de Cailli, I have googled it and found ‘de Cailly’ but occasionally it reverts back to Cailli. Our village has associations with the Cailli/Cailly/Caley family for over 800 years, we have the Caley Farm House and Caley Mill, where the famous Norfolk Lavender is farmed and in 2018/19 we started a internet Heritage site, so I know they would be overjoyed to find that there is a connection to France. Thanks, Sandra Lester (nee Firby)
posted by Sandra Firby
Hi Sandra, thanks for your enquiry. The short answer is, yes. I am descended from the first Cayley baronet, Sir William Cayley, and he descended from the Cailli family of Heacham and elsewhere in Norfolk, who came from a place called Cailly near Rouen in Normandy (not to be confused with Cailly-sur-Eure, also in Normandy). The family's last name was spelt in various different ways, some rather unlikely to modern eyes, in medieval times. You can trace the line of ancestry on WikiTree. I continue to add information to profiles when I find more information and sources.

It is great you have set up an internet heritage site. Warm regards, Michael

posted by Michael Cayley
Hi Michael,

Thanks for the pre-1500 Berkeley additions. Would you be able to make William ie. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Berkeley-11 a son of Edmund rather than John? - it would mean changing some of the dates.

Thanks David

posted by David Mortimer
I am afraid there are complications which need research. I have sent you a private message, and added a research note to William's profile. At this stage, I would not feel able to make the change you seek, and I do not have time myself at present to do the research that is needed to resolve things.
posted by Michael Cayley
Thanks to you for working on this and putting it all together.

Marian Durham Roberts

Hi Michael! 12th cousin 2 times removed. Still learning and working on my family lines. Thank you!
posted by James Ward Jr
Thank you, Michael, for all your work - I'm now going to be able to clear up a few discrepancies in my Cailly ancestors' line (above the de Clifton connection). Blessings.  :) :)
posted by Frances (Piercy) Piercy-Reins
edited by Frances (Piercy) Piercy-Reins
Thanks for your research in to Margaret Askew's parentage and ancestry which certainly is food for thought and I will try to follow up on the information provided. Although I have some experience in family history I still have a lot to learn and not only on the records available but also on the technology available that could benefit research.
I wanted to say Thank You for all your hard work!
posted by David Kenner
I appreciate the Quaker’ Project’s willingness time manage the profile!
posted by Paula J
Welcome to being a leader here at WikiTree, Michael!
posted by Maggie N.

Congratulations! Welcome to the leader group. If you need any help, please don’t hesitate to ask. We are so happy to have you!


posted by Paula J
Congratulations on being awarded a Leader badge Michael!
posted by Jo Fitz-Henry
Thank you Michael for your work on the Cloptons
posted by [Living Snyder]
Thanks for your help on Webb-2452!
posted by Lori Harlan

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