The Teleri were the third of the three peoples of the Elves to follow the Great Journey into Beleriand. They were more numerous than the Vanyar and the Noldor who came before them, and so rather less united: not a small part of this people had already left the host before it crossed the Blue Mountains. Once in Beleriand, one of their lords, Elwë, became lost, and many of his people refused to carry on to Aman until he had been found.
So the great host of the Teleri were divided into many groups: the Sindar, the Nandor and others remained in Middle-earth, while Elwë's brother Olwë led the rest across the Great Sea to the Blessed Realm. These followers of Olwë are usually known simply as 'the Teleri', but they were properly just the branch of that people that dwelt west of the Sea. From their love of the ocean they were given the particular name Falmari, a title only rarely used, that can be loosely translated as 'Sea-elves'.