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

Origins Available: French, Welsh

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

The origins of the Welsh name Rees 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.


Although there are not an extremely large number Welsh surnames, there are an inordinately large number of spelling variations of those surnames. This variety of spellings began almost immediately after the acceptance of surnames within Welsh society. As time progressed, these old Brythonic names were eventually were recorded in English. This process was problematic in that many of the highly inflected sounds of the native language of Wales could not be properly captured in English. Some families, however, did decide to modify their own names to indicate a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even a patriotic affiliation. The name Rees has seen various spelling variations: 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.


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


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


In the 1800s and 1900s, many Welsh families left for North America, in search of land, work, and freedom. Those who made the trip successfully helped contribute to the growth of industry, commerce, and the cultural heritage of both Canada and the United States. In the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Rees

Rees Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Thomas Rees settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Andries Rees, who landed in New York in 1664
  • Gwen Rees, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1678-1679
  • Ellin Rees, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1678-1679
  • Ellis Rees, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1678-1679

Rees Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Hans Rees, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1754
  • Jacob Rees, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1760
  • Dietrick Rees, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1764
  • Catherina Rees, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1797
  • Johanes Rees, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1797

Rees Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Elis Rees, who arrived in North America in 1832-1849
  • Conrad Rees, who landed in North America in 1832-1849
  • Johannes Rees, who landed in North America in 1832-1849
  • Johann Werner Rees, who landed in North America in 1832-1849
  • Jenkins Rees, aged 21, landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1838


  • William Rees (1904-1961), American cinematographer who filmed the 1931 version of The Maltese Falcon among others
  • Ivor Rees VC (1893-1967), Welsh recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Group Captain Lionel Wilmot Brabazon Rees VC, OBE, MC, AFC, RAF (1884-1955), Welsh flying ace and recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Brinley Roderick Rees (1919-2004), Welsh academic who wrote extensively on the Classics
  • David James Rees CBE (1913-1983), one of the Britain's leading golfers either side of World War II
  • Angharad Mary Rees CBE (1949-2012), Welsh actress
  • Celia Rees (b. 1949), English author of children's literature
  • Elmer Gethin Rees CBE, FRSE (b. 1941), British mathematician elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1982
  • Jean Rees (1914-2004), British artist elected to the committee of the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol in 1988
  • Baron Martin John Rees OM, FRS (b. 1942), British cosmologist and astrophysicist and Astronomer Royal since 1995, awarded the 1989 Balzan Prize for High energy astrophysics



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. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Davies, R. R. The Age of Conquest: Wales, 1063-1415. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
  3. Thirsk, Joan ed. Et. Al. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  4. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  5. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  6. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  7. 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.
  8. 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).
  9. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  10. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  11. ...

The Rees Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Rees 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 16 May 2014 at 19:09.

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