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

Origins Available: English, Scottish

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

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Willis, Wilis and others.

First found in Berwickshire an ancient county of Scotland, presently part of the Scottish Borders Council Area, located in the eastern part of the Borders Region of Scotland. The earliest Scottish bearers of this name are likely descended from Will the Crowner Gunn. Although the name has also long existed in England where they are believed to be descended from Baron Welles, the Duke of Somerset, a Norman Baron from Welles in Normandy who was granted Rockingham Castle.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Willis research. Another 308 words(22 lines of text) covering the years 1214, 1435, 1577, 1581, and 1625 are included under the topic Early Willis History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Willis family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 93 words(7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Willis Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Anne Willis settled in Virginia in 1620
  • Ann Willis, who arrived in Virginia in 1620
  • Ann Willis, who landed in Virginia in 1620
  • Nathaniel Willis settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1630
  • Nathaniel Willis, who settled in Boston in 1630


Willis Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Jacob Willis, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1702
  • Matthew Willis, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Ellioner Willis, who arrived in Virginia in 1717
  • Pheebe Willis, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1772

Willis Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Mary Ann Willis, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • Margaret Willis, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • James Willis, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812
  • Eleanor Willis, who landed in New York, NY in 1816
  • Ellen Willis, aged 18, landed in Mobile, Ala in 1820-1873


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  • Elizabeth Willis (b. 1961), American poet, a literary critic and a professor of literature and creative writing
  • Walter Bruce Willis (b. 1955), American two-time Emmy Award-winning, Golden Globe Award-winning and four-time Saturn Award-nominated actor and film producer perhaps best known for his "Die Hard" series of movies
  • Harold "Chuck" Willis (1928-1958), American blues, rhythm and blues, and rock singer and songwriter
  • Pharmacist's Mate First Class John Harlan Willis (1921-1945), American Navy sailor awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1945
  • Robert "Chick" Willis (1934-2013), American blues singer and guitarist
  • Henry Willis (1821-1901), English organ builder who built or restored many of the Cathedral organs of Britain
  • Ted Edward Henry Willis (1918-1992), Baron Willis of Chislehurst, British author
  • Bailey Willis (1857-1949), American geological engineer
  • Major Richard Raymond Willis VC (1876-1966), English recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Norman David Willis (b. 1933), English trade union leader

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  • The Family History of Nathaniel Purdue Willis of Eason, Oklahoma Territory by Kathryn S. Carter.
  • Some Willis Families of New England by Aurie Willis Morrison.
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  1. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  2. 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.
  3. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  4. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  7. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  8. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  9. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  10. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  11. ...

The Willis Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Willis 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 2013 at 13:43.

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