The true story behind the famous surname of Elvis Presley

Welcome to the fascinating world of genealogy! Today, we are going to explore the true story behind the famous surname of Elvis Presley. While many people will undoubtedly recognize this name, few may actually know its origins.

The Origins of the Presley Surname

The Presley surname can be traced back to medieval England. The name originally appeared as Pressley, Prestley, or Priestley, depending on the region. It was derived from the Old English words prēost, meaning priest and lēah, meaning a clearing in the woods.

The name was often given to those who lived near a church or had some association with the clergy. Over time, the name evolved into Presley, and many families bearing this surname can still be found in England today.

The Presley Family in America

Elvis Presley's ancestors immigrated to America from England in the late 1700s. His great-great-grandfather, Andrew Presley, moved his family from North Carolina to Tennessee in the early 1800s.

Andrew's son, Jesse D. Presley, was Elvis's great-grandfather. Jesse fought in the Civil War on the Confederate side and later became a farmer. He and his wife had nine children, one of whom was Vernon Elvis Presley, Elvis's grandfather.

Vernon was born in 1916 in Fulton, Mississippi. He married Gladys Love Smith and they had one child, Elvis Aaron Presley, who was born in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935.

The Rise of Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley is arguably one of the most famous and influential musicians of the 20th century. He had a unique style that blended elements of rock and roll, country, and blues, which appealed to a wide audience.

Elvis's rise to fame began in the mid-1950s, with his first hit record, "Heartbreak Hotel," which topped the charts in 1956. Over the next few years, he released a string of successful albums and singles, including "Hound Dog," "Jailhouse Rock," and "Blue Suede Shoes."

Elvis became famous not only for his music but also for his stage presence, which included his gyrating dance moves and flamboyant clothing. He was often referred to as "The King of Rock and Roll," and his popularity extended across the globe.

The Legacy of Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley passed away on August 16, 1977, at the age of 42. Despite his relatively short life, his music and legacy have endured. He has sold over one billion records worldwide and has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame.

Elvis's influence can still be seen in modern music and pop culture. His style and persona have influenced countless musicians, and his music continues to be played and enjoyed by millions of people around the world.

The Importance of Genealogy

Genealogy is the study of family history and lineage. It can help us trace our roots, understand our ancestors' stories, and connect with our heritage in a meaningful way.

By learning about our family's history, we can gain insight into our own lives and identities. It can also help us appreciate our family's strengths and weaknesses, and provide a sense of perspective on life.

Through genealogy, we can gain a deeper understanding of our ancestors' lives and experiences. It allows us to connect with those who came before us and honor their memories.


The story of the Presley surname is a fascinating one, and it offers a glimpse into the history of not only one family but also of a country and a musical genre. Elvis Presley's legacy will undoubtedly continue to inspire generations to come, and his name will live on as a symbol of music and cultural significance.

We hope that this article has sparked an interest in genealogy and inspired you to explore your own family history. Who knows what treasures and fascinating stories you might uncover!