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

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

Billings is a name whose history is connected to the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Billings family once lived in or near the parish of Billing, which was located in the diocese of Liverpool. The name of that place is derived from the Old English word bil, meaning sword or halberd, and later came to indicate a pruning hook used in harvesting fruit.


Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Billings family name include Billings, Billins, Billinge, Billing, Biling and others.

First found in Lancashire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Billings research. Another 115 words(8 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1600, 1687, 1680, 1687, 1758, 1806, 1746 and 1800 are included under the topic Early Billings History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 89 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Billings Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Billings surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Billings Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Jo Billings, aged 21, landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Jon Billings, who landed in Virginia in 1636
  • John Billings, who arrived in Portsmouth, NH in 1640
  • Roger Billings, who landed in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1640
  • Nathaniel Billings, who arrived in New Hampshire in 1641

Billings Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Andrew Billings, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1849
  • J P Billings, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Mr. Billings, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1860

Billings Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Howard Billings, who landed in Arkansas in 1902


  • John Shaw Billings (1838-1913), American physician and surgeon, who oversaw the establishment of the National Library of Medicine
  • Earl William Billings (b. 1945), American character actor
  • Frederick Billings (1823-1890), American lawyer, railroad executive, and philanthropist, an original partner in the Northern Pacific Rail Road, eponym of the town of Billings, Montana
  • Dick Billings (b. 1942), American Major League Baseball player
  • Josh Billings (1818-1885), American humorist writer
  • Marland Pratt Billings (1902-1996), American structural geologist
  • Rhoda Bryan Billings (b. 1937), American lawyer and a former justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court
  • Dwight Billings (1910-1997), American ecologist
  • Franklin S. Billings (1862-1935), American politician from Woodstock, Vermont, 60th Governor of Vermont (1925 to 1927)
  • John Shaw Billings (1838-1913), American librarian and surgeon, first director of the New York Public Library



  • Nathaniel Billings and Certain of His Descendants by Roger Billings.
  • The Ryon-Billings Colonial Ancestry: A Compilation of the Forebears of the Author and His Wife Priscilla Alden Billingson Ryon by William E. Ryon Jr..

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  1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  2. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  3. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  5. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  6. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  7. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  8. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  11. ...

The Billings Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Billings 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 August 2014 at 09:07.

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