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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

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

The origins of the Welsh name Reese 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.


The Welsh have an extremely large amount of spelling variations of their native surnames to their credit. It was up to the priest or the scribe taking the official records to determine how the spoken name was to be made literal. As time progressed, the old Brythonic names of Wales were recorded in English, which was especially problematic since the English language had extreme difficulty recording the highly inflected sounds of Cymraeg. 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 could be indicated by spelling variations of one's name. The spelling variations of the name Reese 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.


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


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


Many Welsh families joined their Scottish and Irish neighbors during the late 1800s and early 1900s in seeking refuge in North America. Like the Irish and Scottish, many Welsh anxiously awaited the work, freedom, and opportunities that they believed lay in North America. Those who did journey over to the United States and what became known as Canada often realized those dreams, but only through much toil and perseverance. Whenever and however these Welsh immigrants arrived in North America, they were instrumental in the creation of the industry, commerce, and cultural heritage within those two developing nations. In the immigration and passenger lists a number of early immigrants bearing the name Reese were found:

Reese Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Mary Reese, who landed in Virginia in 1622
  • Lawrence Reese arrived in Barbados in 1678
  • William Reese, who arrived in Maryland in 1679
  • Bartholomew and Bennett Reese arrived in Barbados in 1680 with their servants

Reese Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Lawrence Reese, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1760

Reese Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • John Reese, who arrived in New York in 1833
  • David Reese, aged 26, arrived in Missouri in 1844
  • Charles Reese, aged 37, arrived in Missouri in 1848
  • Frederick Reese, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1853
  • George Reese, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1856


  • Charley Reese (1937-2013), American syndicated columnist
  • Private James William Reese (1920-1943), American Army soldier awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1943
  • Private First Class John Noah Reese Jr. (1923-1945), American Army soldier awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1945
  • Della Reese (b. 1931), stage name of Delloreese Patricia Early, an Emmy Award winning, Grammy Award winning American actress, singer, game show panelist
  • Harold Peter Henry "Pee Wee" Reese (1918-1999), American Major League Baseball player
  • Gustave Reese (1899-1977), American musicologist and teacher, known for his work on medieval and Renaissance music
  • Lt Augustus Frank Reese Jr. (1917-1943), American pilot, eponym of the Reese Air Force Base, Lubbock, Texas
  • David Edward "Chip" Reese (1951-2007), American professional poker player and gambler, his winnings exceeded 3.5 million dollars
  • Randy Reese (b. 1946), American college and Olympic swimming coach of the Florida Gators swimming and diving teams of the University of Florida, member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame
  • James O'Quinn "Jim" Reese (b. 1929), American businessman and politician, Mayor of Odessa, Texas (1968-1974)



  • The Genealogical Study of David Reese by Cynthia Jones Reese.
  • Some German-American Families, 1460-1975 by Harriet R. Frische.

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. Morgan, T. J. Morgan and Prys Morgan. Welsh Surnames. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1985. Print.
  2. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  3. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  4. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  5. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  6. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  7. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Thirsk, Joan ed. Et. Al. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  9. 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.
  10. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  11. ...

The Reese Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Reese 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 8 February 2015 at 14:23.

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