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

Origins Available: French, Irish, Jewish, Welsh

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

The Welsh Davis surname is a patronymic, meaning son of David. Ultimately derived from the Hebrew name "David," meaning "beloved," the name became a popular given name throughout Medieval Europe due to the biblical king David of Israel. The popularity of the name was further increased in Britain due to it being the name of the Patron Saint of Wales. Little is known about Saint David, but he is thought to have been a 6th century monk and bishop. The name came to be used as a patronymic name by the Brythonic people of Wales. One of the most famous bearers of this personal name in Wales was David ap Gryffydd, the last Prince of North Wales, who was executed c. 1276 by King Edward I of England.

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The Welsh have an extremely large amount of spelling variations of their native surnames to their credit. It was up to the priest or the scribe taking the official records to determine how the spoken name was to be made literal. As time progressed, the old Brythonic names of Wales were recorded in English, which was especially problematic since the English language had extreme difficulty recording the highly inflected sounds of Cymraeg. Spelling variations were, however, also carried out according to an individual's design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations could be indicated by spelling variations of one's name. The spelling variations of the name Davis have included Davies, Davis, Divis and others.

First found in Flintshire (Welsh: Sir y Fflint), a historic county, created after the defeat of the Welsh Kingdom of Gwynedd in 1284, and located in north-east Wales, where the Davis family held a family seat from very ancient times. They were descended from Cynrig Efell, Lord of Eglwysegle, the twin son of Madog ab Maredadd, the great grandson of Bleddyn ap Cynvin, Prince of Powys, head of the honorable and worthy third Royal Tribe of Wales, who was traitorously murdered in 1073 by the men of Ystrad Tywi, after he had governed all Wales for 13 years. Directly descended from this line was John ap Davydd (John Davies of Gwasanau in the county of Flint).


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Davis research. Another 129 words(9 lines of text) covering the years 1550, 1605, 1605, 1675, 1667, 1675, 1680, 1688, 1680, 1625, 1693, 1692, 1715, 1667, 1739, 1690, 1719, 1718, 1719, 1600, 1672, 1633, 1687, 1646, 1689, 1670, 1716, 1667, 1739 and are included under the topic Early Davis History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 307 words(22 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Davis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Davis family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 389 words(28 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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During the latter half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the people of Wales journeyed to North America to find a new life. They made major contributions to the arts, industry and commerce of both Canada and the United States, and added a rich cultural heritage to their newly adopted societies. A look at the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Davis:

Davis Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Dolor Davis, who arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Isbell Davis, aged 22, landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Dorothy Davis, who arrived in Virginia in 1636
  • Christopher Davis, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1636
  • Jenkin Davis, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1637


Davis Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Faith Davis, who landed in Virginia in 1700
  • Johannah Davis, who landed in Virginia in 1702
  • Duke Davis, who landed in Virginia in 1703
  • Issabella Davis, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Geo Davis, who landed in Virginia in 1714


Davis Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Hugh Davis, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1802
  • William Davis, William Davis, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1803-1827
  • Wm Davis, who landed in America in 1805
  • James Davis, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1806
  • John Davis, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808


Davis Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • A M Davis, who arrived in Mississippi in 1906
  • Albert Henry Davis, who arrived in Colorado in 1907
  • Henry Vincent Davis, who arrived in Alabama in 1917

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  • Raymond "Ray" Davis Jr. (1914-2006), American scientist who has won many awards for his scientific work, most notably the 2002 Nobel Prize in physics for detecting solar neutrinos
  • Sammy George Davis Jr. (1925-1990), well-known and prolific American singer, dancer, and actor and the only black member of Frank Sinatra's "Rat Pack." In 2001, he was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Miles Dewey Davis III (1926-1991), American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer considered one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century
  • Geena Davis (b. 1956), American actress, film producer, writer, former fashion model, and a women's Olympics archery team semi-finalist
  • Edward "Lockjaw" Davis (1921-1986), American jazz tenor saxophonist
  • Calvin Davis (b. 1972), American athlete who won the bronze medal in the men's 400 meter hurdles at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Joshua "Josh" Clark Davis (b. 1972), American swimmer who won multiple gold and silver Olympic medals at the 1996 and 2000 games
  • Dwight Filley Davis (1879-1945), 49th United States Secretary of War (1925-1929) and avid tennis enthusiast, eponym of the Davis Cup
  • Richard Harding Davis (1864-1916), American writer and journalist famous for his coverage of the Spanish-American War, the Second Boer War, and the First World War
  • Stuart Davis (1894-1964), early American modernist painter

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  • From the Rhondda Valley to the Clinch River Valley and Beyond: A Genealogy of the Descendants of John Davies (also Daivis) by Billie Ruth McNamara.
  • Amos Williams Davis: Family History, Including His Ancestors and Descendants by Eunice Freese Payne.
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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: Heb Dhuw heb ddym, Dhuw a digon
Motto Translation: Without God without anything, God is enough.

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  1. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  2. Thirsk, Joan ed. Et. Al. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  3. 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).
  4. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  7. Bradsley C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print.
  8. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  9. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  10. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Davis Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Davis 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 September 2014 at 14:43.

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