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

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

The name Callis was brought to England in the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Callis family lived in Norfolk, where they were Lords of the Castle of Cailly.

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Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Cailly, Calley, Callis, Cally, Caley, Cayley and many more.

First found in Norfolk where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Callis research. Another 297 words(21 lines of text) covering the years 1661, 1610, 1681, 1602, 1667, 1640, 1635, 1708, 1654, 1727, 1663, 1717 and 1576 are included under the topic Early Callis History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 175 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Callis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Callis or a variant listed above:

Callis Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Wm Callis, who landed in Virginia in 1663
  • Francis Callis, who landed in Maryland in 1669

Callis Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Thomas Callis, who arrived in New York, NY in 1832
  • F Callis, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1871
  • Sarah Callis, aged 24, who emigrated to the United States, in 1893
  • Chas. Callis, aged 30, who settled in America, in 1895

Callis Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Raffael Callis, aged 46, who settled in America, in 1905
  • Ernest A. Callis, aged 19, who emigrated to the United States from Leicester, England, in 1910
  • Ada Callis, aged 21, who emigrated to the United States from Workington, England, in 1910
  • Catharine Callis, aged 20, who landed in America, in 1910
  • George Callis, aged 2, who landed in America, in 1910


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  • Henry Arthur Callis (1887-1974), American co-founder of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at Cornell University in 1906
  • Charles Albert Callis (1865-1947), American member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • John Benton Callis (1828-1898), American politician, U.S. Representative from Alabama, officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War
  • John William "Jo" Callis (b. 1951), English musician and songwriter
  • James Callis (b. 1971), English actor, best known as Bridget Jones' best friend in Bridget Jones's Diary
  • Samuel "Sam" Callis (b. 1973), English actor and film director, best known for his role as Sergeant Callum Stone in The Bill
  • Don Callis (b. 1964), Canadian former professional wrestler and manager


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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: Callide et honeste
Motto Translation: Wisely and honourably.

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  1. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  2. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  3. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  4. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  5. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  6. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  7. 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.
  8. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  10. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  11. ...

The Callis Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Callis 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 10 January 2014 at 11:07.

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