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

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

The German state of Prussia, which reached the zenith of its power in the late 19th century, is the glorious birthplace of the distinguished surname Wilhite. In the medieval era, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the German lands were inhabited by a variety of Barbarian tribes. The borders of the Barbarian kingdoms changed frequently, but the region that became known in Prussia was roughly divided between the areas of Brandenburg-Prussia, West Prussia, and East Prussia. The colorful history of Brandenburg-Prussia, which is essentially the birthplace of modern Germany, provides a glimpse at the oldest origins of the Wilhite family.

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One can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames: in early times, spelling in general, and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized; and later, spellings would change with branching and movement of families. Variations of the name Wilhite include Wilhelm, Wilhem, Wilhelmi (Latinized), Wilhelmy, Wilhelmus (Latinized), Wilhelms, Wilhelmsen (Holstein), Wilhalm ( Bavaria, Austria), Wilms (Friesland) and many more.

First found in northern Germany, where the name was associated in early mediaeval times with the feudal society which would become prominent throughout European history. The name would eventually emerge as belonging to a noble family with great influence, having many distinguished branches, and become noted for its involvement in social, economic and political affairs. Its use as a Surname must be traced back to its immense popularity as a first name early in the Middle Ages. Indeed, one chronicle mentions a knight's feast in Bayeux around 1171 A.D. in which alone 117 Wilhelms were listed as taking part.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wilhite research. Another 211 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 1709, 1812, 1845, and 1864 are included under the topic Early Wilhite History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 28 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wilhite Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The state of Prussia was a great influence on the shape of modern Germany. After the Second World War, Prussia's land was divided among the Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany and West Germany and the state was abolished. Some Prussians remained in those countries after the war, while many others migrated to North America in search of a new start. Philadelphia was their primary point of entry to the United States, after which many of them moved on to Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, New York, and Maryland. A large number of Prussians also migrated to Ontario and the prairie provinces as United Empire Loyalists. Analysis of immigration records has shown some of the first Wilhites to arrive in North America, and among them were:

Wilhite Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • John Wilhite, who arrived in Virginia in 1735
  • Michael Wilhite, who landed in Virginia in 1735
  • Tobias Wilhite, who arrived in Virginia in 1743

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  • Jonathan Wilhite (b. 1984), American football cornerback
  • Steve Wilhite, American of CompuServe who invented the GIF file format
  • Jud Wilhite (b. 1971), American pastor, author, and speaker
  • Robert Wilhite (b. 1952), American professional baseball player


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  1. Preuss, Otto. Die Lippischen Familiennamen mit Berücksichtigung der Ortsnamen. Detmold: Meyer'sche Hofbuchh, 1887. Print.
  2. Göbel, Otto. Niederdeutsche Familiennamen der Gegenwart Wolfshagen-Schäbentz. Franz: Westphal, 1936. Print.
  3. Götze, Alfred. Familiennamen im badischen Oberland. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1918. Print.
  4. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist. Armorial Général. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  5. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  6. Fogleman, Aaron Spencer. Journeys German Immigration, Settlement and Political Culture in Colonial America 1717-1775. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986. Print. (ISBN 978-0812215489).
  7. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  8. Schenk, Trudy. Wuerttemberg Emigration Index Volume I-VIII. Salt Lake City: Ancestry Inc., 1986. Print.
  9. Strassburger, Ralph B. Pennsylvania German Pioneers The Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia 3 Volumes. Baltimore: Picton Press, 1992. Print. (ISBN 978-0929539980).
  10. Bahlow, Hans and Edda Gentry. Translation Dictionary of German Names 2nd Edition. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 2002. Print.
  11. ...

The Wilhite Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Wilhite 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 28 March 2014 at 18:16.

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