My FARLEYs came originally from the small village of North Tawton in Devon, where FARLEYs are described as being "thick on the ground" - ie that there were a lot of them, rather than that they were stupid! There is a nearby crossroads called 'Farley's Grave'; usually, only thieves were buried by a crossroads, which does make you wonder...
In the 1850s, however, my FARLEYs moved to Millbrook, Cornwall, and married into the BLAGDON family (then later the BLAGDONs married into the HAYWOOD family). From working almost exclusively on the land, the family turned to being labourers, so maybe they too had something to do with the nearby Plymouth Docks. I have found evidence of some of them having entered the Royal Navy on the HMS Champion, and the HMS Defiance (torpedo school ship) and working in the merchant service, so this seems likely.
The surname itself is more widespread in Australia, and much more common in the US.
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