When I started this research over ten years ago I was convinced that my McHALEY line was of Scotch-Irish or Irish origin, for such was the family lore. I held to this presumption strongly for a long time.
I telephoned a McHALEY in Colorado who described that his family came from Germany in the mid 1800’s, and changed their name. So, I became aware that this possibility might apply to our family.
At Boris Neubert’s website in Germany I found a lot of research that he has done on families with surnames that might be German counterparts to our family, including MICHAELY. But, I found no direct evidence connecting us to Germany.
I created a database of census, court, land, marriage, military, and will records of MICHAELEY sounding names in North Carolina. Surprisingly, I found that often records indexed as MCHALEY, included MAHALA and MAHALEY name variations. And I found that records indexed at MAHALA, or MAHALEY included the McHALEY name. Variations included MAHALA, MAHALAY, MAHALEY, MAHALY, MALEY, McGALEY, MCHALY, MCHALEY, MCKALEY, MEHALA, MEHALEY, MICHAELY, MICHALEY, MICHALY, MHALY, MHALEY, and MICHALY. This data made it apparent that the surname was very fluid in the early 1800’s. Generally by the 1840’s descendants became established as MAHALA, MAHALEY, or MCHALEY.
So far, the evidence is from secondary sources, and should not be assumed to be entirely correct. Hopefully it will be more fully verified that the children are siblings and not cousins. Bible and church records would be helpful.
Contact me for questions, corrections, suggestions, or who you might contact for more information.