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

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

The origins of the Welsh name Reece go back to those ancient Celts known as the Britons that once occupied the hills and Moors of Wales. This old Welsh surname is from the Welsh personal name Rhys, which also took the forms Rice and Rees. This name was originally derived from the Old Welsh forename Ris, which means ardour.

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Although there are comparatively few Welsh surnames, they have a great many spelling variations. Variations of Welsh names began almost immediately after their acceptance within Welsh society. In the Middle Ages, it was up to priests and the few other people that recorded names in official documents to decide how to spell the names that they heard. Variations that occurred because of improper recording increased dramatically as the names were later transliterated into English. The Brythonic Celtic language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, featured many highly inflected sounds that could not be properly captured by the English language. 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 were all indicated by the particular variation of one's name. The spelling variations of the name Reece have included Rees, Reece, Rhys, Ap Rhys and others.

First found in Carmarthenshire (Welsh: Sir Gaerfyrddin), located in Southwest Wales, one of thirteen historic counties and presently one of the principal area in Wales, where they held a family seat from very early times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Reece research. Another 247 words(18 lines of text) covering the year 1615 is included under the topic Early Reece History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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The Welsh began to emigrate to North America in the late 1800s and early 1900s in search of land, work, and freedom. Those that arrived helped shape the industry, commerce, and the cultural heritage of both Canada and the United States. The records regarding immigration and passenger show a number of people bearing the name Reece:

Reece Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Gennet Reece, who arrived in America in 1654-1679
  • Roger Reece, who landed in America in 1654-1679
  • Ann Reece, who landed in New England in 1662
  • Henry Reece settled in Nevis in 1663 along with Jane
  • Richard Reece settled in New England in 1668


Reece Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Matthew Reece, aged 17, landed in Pennsylvania in 1738
  • Jacob Reece, aged 49, landed in Pennsylvania in 1738

Reece Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • John Reece, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1828
  • William Reece, who arrived in Alabama in 1858
  • Barbara, Jacob, Mathew, Thomas and William Reece all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1870

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  • Jimmy Reece (1929-1958), American racecar driver
  • Christopher "Chris" Reece (b. 1959), American musician
  • Marcel Antoine Wayne Reece (b. 1985), American NFL football fullback for the Oakland Raiders
  • Brazilla Carroll Reece (1889-1961), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Tennessee (1921-1931)
  • Gabrielle Allyse Reece (b. 1970), American professional volleyball player, sports announcer, fashion model and actress
  • Beasley Young Reece Jr. (b. 1954), American NFL football defensive back who played from 1976 to 1984
  • Florence Reece (1900-1986), American social activist, poet, and folksong writer, known for the song, "Which Side Are You On?"
  • Shakera Kiella Valena Reece (b. 1988), Barbadian sprinter at the 2011 Pan American Games
  • Jane B. Reece (b. 1944), American scientist and textbook author
  • Lewis Reece (b. 1991), Welsh rugby league footballer

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  • The Reeces of Worcester, Mass. by Louise Elise Jackson Wilder.
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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: Spes melioris aevi
Motto Translation: The hope of a better age.

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  1. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  2. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  3. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  4. Rowlands, John, John Rowlands and Sheila Rowlands. Welsh Family History: A Guide to Research. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1999. Print. (ISBN 080631620).
  5. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  6. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  7. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  10. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  11. ...

The Reece Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Reece 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 14 July 2014 at 17:37.

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