An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2013
Origins Available: English, Scottish
Where did the English Willis family come from? What is the English Willis family crest and coat of arms? When did the Willis family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Willis family history?Willis is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Willis family lived in Berkshire. Their name is derived from the Old English word welle, meaning well, and indicates the original bearer's residence near such a facility.
Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Willis, Wilis and others.
First found in Berkshire where they held a family seat at Hungerford Park, a baronetcy granted by King Charles I. They are believed to be descended from Baron Welles, the Duke of Somerset, and the grandmother of Henry VII, a Norman Baron from Welles in Normandy who was granted Rockingham Castle but was beheaded. Junior lines adopted the name Willis.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Willis research. Another 185 words(13 lines of text) covering the years 1207, 1279, 1214, 1576, 1656, 1621, 1675, 1614, 1690, 1614, 1701, 1659, 1660, 1665 and 1666 are included under the topic Early Willis History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 267 words(19 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Willis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the Willis family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 109 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.
To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Willis or a variant listed above:
Willis Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century
Willis Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century
Willis Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century
The Willis Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Willis 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 23 July 2013 at 14:30.
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