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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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 surname Reese was 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. Sir Elidir Dhu who flourished temp. Richard I., was the direct descendant of the family of Rees of Killymaenllwyd, county Carmarthen. [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.

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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Reese research. Another 245 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 161 and 1615 are included under the topic Early Reese History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


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


Many Welsh families joined their Scottish and Irish neighbors during the late 1800s and early 1900s in seeking refuge in North Ameri ca. 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
  • ...

  • Calvin "Pokey" Reese Jr., (b. 1973), American former Major League Baseball infielder
  • Ralph Reese (b. 1949), American artist and illustrator
  • James O'Quinn "Jim" Reese (b. 1929), American businessman and politician, Mayor of Odessa, Texas (1968-1974)
  • 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
  • David Edward "Chip" Reese (1951-2007), American professional poker player and gambler, his winnings exceeded 3.5 million dollars
  • Lt Augustus Frank Reese Jr. (1917-1943), American pilot, eponym of the Reese Air Force Base, Lubbock, Texas
  • Gustave Reese (1899-1977), American musicologist and teacher, known for his work on medieval and Renaissance music
  • Harold Peter Henry "Pee Wee" Reese (1918-1999), American Major League Baseball player
  • Della Reese (b. 1931), stage name of Delloreese Patricia Early, an Emmy Award winning, Grammy Award winning American actress, singer, game show panelist
  • Betty J. Reese, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1972
  • ...

  • 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. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.

Other References

  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  4. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  5. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  6. 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.
  7. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  8. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  9. Morgan, T. J. Morgan and Prys Morgan. Welsh Surnames. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1985. Print.
  10. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  11. ...

The Reese Family Crest was acquired from the 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 7 May 2016 at 11:11.

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