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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: German, Welsh

Where did the Welsh Rice family come from? What is the Welsh Rice family crest and coat of arms? When did the Rice family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Rice family history?

The origins of the Welsh name Rice go back to those ancient Celts known as the Britons that once occupied the hills and Moors of Wales. This old Welsh surname is from the Welsh personal name Rhys, which also took the forms Rice and Rees. This name was originally derived from the Old Welsh forename Ris, which means ardour.

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Compared to other ancient cultures found in the British Isles, the number of Welsh surnames are relatively few, but there are an inordinately large number of spelling variations. These spelling variations began almost as soon as surname usage became common. People could not specify how to spell their own names leaving the specific recording up to the individual scribe or priest. Those recorders would then spell the names as they heard them, causing many different variations. Later, many Welsh names were recorded in English. This transliteration process was extremely imprecise since the Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh used many sounds the English language was not accustomed to. Finally, some variations occurred by the individual's design: a branch loyalty within a family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations were indicated by spelling variations of one's name. The Rice name over the years has been spelled Rice, Rees, Rhys and others.

First found in Carmarthenshire (Welsh: Sir Gaerfyrddin), located in Southwest Wales, one of thirteen historic counties and presently one of the principal area in Wales, where they held a family seat from very early times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rice research. Another 227 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1637, 1715 and are included under the topic Early Rice History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Rice Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Rice family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 185 words(13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many people from Wales joined the general migration to North America in the 19th and 20th centuries, searching for land, work, and freedom. Like the many other immigrants from the British Isles, they made a significant contribution to the development of Canada and the United States. The Welsh and their descendents added a rich cultural tradition to the newly developed towns, cities, and villages. An investigation of the immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Rice:

Rice Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Henry Rice who settled in Virginia in 1622
  • Ann Rice, aged 23, landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Edmund Rice (c.1594–1663), English Deacon in the Puritan Church, born in Stanstead, Suffolk, emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638
  • John Rice settled in Virginia in 1639
  • Richard Rice settled in Virginia in 1650

Rice Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Carleton Rice, who landed in Virginia in 1717
  • Daniel Rice, who landed in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania in 1764

Rice Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Ally Rice, who landed in New London, Conn in 1811
  • Biddy Rice, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812
  • Charles Rice, aged 36, arrived in Maryland in 1812
  • Canlan Rice, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1816
  • Bridget Rice, aged 6, landed in New York, NY in 1855


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  • Alexander Hamilton Rice (1875-1956), American physician, geographer, geologist and explorer
  • Condoleezza Rice (b. 1954), American professor, diplomat, author, and national security expert, 66th United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor from 2001 to 2005
  • Susan Elizabeth Rice (b. 1964), American foreign policy advisor and United States Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Stuart Alan Rice (b. 1932), American theoretical chemist and physical chemist who received the National Medal of Science in 1999
  • John C. Rice (1858-1915), American born Broadway stage actor who is credited with performing the first onscreen kiss
  • Elmer Rice (1892-1967), American dramatist awarded the 1929 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
  • Peter Rice (1935-1992), Irish structural engineer awarded the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture by the Royal Institute of British Architects
  • Sir Timothy Miles Bindon Rice (b. 1944), English Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Tony Award and Grammy Award-winning lyricist best known for his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Spencer "Spenny" Nolan Rice (b. 1967), Canadian writer, director, producer, and comedian
  • Mrs. Margaret Rice (d. 1912), (née Norton), aged 39, Irish Third Class passenger from Athlone, Westmeath who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett

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  • A Genealogical Register of Edmund Rice Descendants by Lowther Ellis.
  • Henry Rice (1717-1818), the Pioneer Tennessee Gristmiller and his Twelve Children by Melvin Weaver Little.
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Secret et hardi
Motto Translation: Secret and bold.

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  1. Rowlands, John, John Rowlands and Sheila Rowlands. Welsh Family History: A Guide to Research. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1999. Print. (ISBN 080631620).
  2. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  3. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  5. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  6. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  7. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  8. Davies, R. R. The Age of Conquest: Wales, 1063-1415. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
  9. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-005-8).
  10. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  11. ...

The Rice Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Rice Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 2 July 2014 at 08:54.

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