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

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

The vast movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought the Wilkins family name to the British Isles. Wilkins comes from the Norman personal name William, which is derived from the words will, meaning resolution and helm, meaning armed.

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Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Wilkins, Wilkin, Wilkines, Wilkyn, Wilking and others.

First found in Glamorganshire where they held a family seat from early times. They were descended from Robert de Wintona, one of twelve knights who came into Glamorgan with Robert Fitzhamon, a Norman noble, in 1066. Fitzhamon was Sheriff of Kent and founder of Tewkesbury.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wilkins research. Another 237 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1558, 1614, 1672, 1668, 1625, 1626, 1699 and 1618 are included under the topic Early Wilkins History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 159 words(11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wilkins Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Wilkins or a variant listed above:

Wilkins Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Roger Wilkins, who arrived in America in 1620
  • Giles Wilkins, who arrived in Virginia in 1622
  • Goodwife Wilkins settled in Virginia in 1623 along with John
  • Bray Wilkins, who arrived in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Humfrey Wilkins, aged 19, arrived in Virginia in 1635


Wilkins Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Robert Wilkins, who landed in Virginia in 1723
  • Thomas Wilkins, aged 43, arrived in New England in 1774
  • Thomas Wilkins settled with his wife Temperance, in Boston in 1774 with six children
  • Joseph Wilkins, aged 14, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1775
  • Arnold Wilkins, who landed in New York, NY in 1797


Wilkins Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Alexander Wilkins, who arrived in Maryland in 1824
  • Edmund Wilkins, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1836
  • James F Wilkins, aged 37, arrived in St Louis, Missouri in 1846
  • B F Wilkins, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • E Wilkins, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1855


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  • Major Raymond H. Wilkins (1917-1943), American officer awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1943
  • Roy Wilkins (1901-1981), Civil rights activist and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • David Horton Wilkins (b. 1946), American attorney and a former U. S. Ambassador to Canada (2005-2009)
  • Gina Ferris Wilkins (b. 1954), American best-selling author of over 85 romance novels
  • Jesse Ernest Wilkins Jr. (1923-2011), African American nuclear scientist and mathematician
  • Jesse Ernest Wilkins Sr. (1894-1959), African American lawyer, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor (19541958)
  • Katherine Caroline "Kitty" Wilkins (1857-1936), American horse breeder, known as the "Horse Queen of Idaho"
  • Louis Gary Wilkins (1882-1950), American bronze medalist pole vaulter at the 1904 Summer Olympics
  • Professor Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins (1916-2004), New Zealand-born English biophysicist, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1962)
  • John Wilkins (1614-1672), English churchman

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  • Pioneers and Patriots: A History of the John Wilkins and Some Related Families of Virginia by James Richard Wilkins.
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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: Estote prudentes
Motto Translation: Be ye prudent.

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  1. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  3. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  4. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  5. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  7. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  8. 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.
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  11. ...

The Wilkins Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Wilkins 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 25 March 2014 at 11:01.

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