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

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

A product of the ancient Brythonic Celts of Wales, the name Watkins, is from the personal name Walter. The surname Watkins is derived from the pet form Wat, which is supplemented by the common diminutive suffix -kin.


Welsh surnames are relatively few in number, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. There are many factors that explain the preponderance of Welsh variants, but the earliest is found during the Middle Ages when Welsh surnames came into use. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, which often resulted in a single person's name being inconsistently recorded over his lifetime. The transliteration of Welsh names into English also accounts for many of the spelling variations: the unique Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh had many sounds the English language was incapable of accurately reproducing. It was also common for members of a same surname to change their names slightly, in order to signify a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations. For all of these reasons, the many spelling variations of particular Welsh names are very important. The surname Watkins has occasionally been spelled Watkins, Watkyns, Watkens, Watkin and others.

First found in Breconshire (Welsh: Sir Frycheiniog), a traditional county in southern Wales, which takes its name from the Welsh kingdom of Brycheiniog (5th-10th centuries), where they held a family seat at Pennoyre from ancient times and early in the eleventh century branched to Llangorse in that same shire.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Watkins research. Another 169 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Watkins History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Watkins family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 143 words(10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


In the 1800s and 1900s, many Welsh families left for North America, in search of land, work, and freedom. Those who made the trip successfully helped contribute to the growth of industry, commerce, and the cultural heritage of both Canada and the United States. In the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Watkins

Watkins Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • James Watkins settled in Virginia in 1607
  • James Watkins, who landed in Jamestown, Va in 1607
  • Evan Watkins settled in Virginia in 1622
  • Daniell Watkins, who arrived in Virginia in 1623
  • Rees Watkins settled in Virginia in 1623

Watkins Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Margery Watkins, who arrived in Virginia in 1702
  • Eliza Watkins, who landed in Virginia in 1714
  • Robt Watkins, who arrived in Virginia in 1715
  • Hezekiah Watkins, who landed in New York in 1744
  • John Watkins, who landed in North Carolina in 1748

Watkins Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • William Watkins, aged 41, landed in New York in 1812
  • Margaret Watkins settled with her husband in Norfolk, Virginia in 1822 with her six children
  • Archibald H Watkins, who landed in Texas in 1836
  • Isaac Watkins, who arrived in Mobile County, Ala in 1836
  • Mary Watkins, aged 40, landed in Key West, Fla in 1837


  • Arthur Vivian Watkins (1886-1973), American politician, Republican U.S. Senator from 1947 to 1959
  • Douglas Watkins (1934-1962), American jazz double bassist
  • Carleton E. Watkins (1829-1916), American photographer
  • Tionne Tenese Watkins (b. 1970), four-time Grammy Award-winning American singer, actress, author, poet and executive producer
  • Master Sergeant Travis E. Watkins (1920-1950), American recipient of the Medal of Honor
  • Admiral James D. Watkins (1927-2012), American Naval officer and cabinet member, Chief of Naval Operations (19821986), Secretary of Energy (19891993)
  • Aaron Sherman Watkins (1863-1941), American politician, Prohibition Party Presidential candidate (1920) and Prohibition Party Vice Presidential candidate (1908)
  • Enid Watkins (1890-1971), American singer and dancer
  • Vernon Phillips Watkins (1906-1967), Welsh poet, translator, and painter
  • Alan Rhun Watkins (1933-2010), Welsh political columnist



  • Ancestors and Descendants of George Watkins by George Watkins Anderson Jr..
  • Henry Watkins of Henrico County by Jane McMurty Allen.
  • James Watkins and Catherine Hen and Their Descendants by Austin E. Dwight.

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: Pen-aur-y-chalon Wir
Motto Translation: A golden head and true heart.


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  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Davies, R. R. The Age of Conquest: Wales, 1063-1415. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
  3. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  4. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Bradsley C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print.
  6. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  7. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  8. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  9. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  10. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  11. ...

The Watkins Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Watkins 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 11 July 2014 at 18:30.

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