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

Origins Available: German, Welsh

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

The origins of the Welsh name Rice 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.


Compared to other ancient cultures found in the British Isles, the number of Welsh surnames are relatively few, but there are an inordinately large number of spelling variations. These spelling variations began almost as soon as surname usage became common. People could not specify how to spell their own names leaving the specific recording up to the individual scribe or priest. Those recorders would then spell the names as they heard them, causing many different variations. Later, many Welsh names were recorded in English. This transliteration process was extremely imprecise since the Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh used many sounds the English language was not accustomed to. Finally, some variations occurred by the individual's design: a branch loyalty within a family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations were indicated by spelling variations of one's name. The Rice name over the years has been spelled Rice, Rees, 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 Rice research. Another 227 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1637, 1715 and are included under the topic Early Rice History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Rice family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 185 words(13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many people from Wales joined the general migration to North America in the 19th and 20th centuries, searching for land, work, and freedom. Like the many other immigrants from the British Isles, they made a significant contribution to the development of Canada and the United States. The Welsh and their descendents added a rich cultural tradition to the newly developed towns, cities, and villages. An investigation of the immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Rice:

Rice Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Henry Rice who settled in Virginia in 1622
  • Ann Rice, aged 23, landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Edmund Rice (c.1594–1663), English Deacon in the Puritan Church, born in Stanstead, Suffolk, emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1638
  • John Rice settled in Virginia in 1639
  • Richard Rice settled in Virginia in 1650

Rice Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Carleton Rice, who landed in Virginia in 1717
  • Daniel Rice, who landed in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania in 1764

Rice Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Ally Rice, who landed in New London, Conn in 1811
  • Biddy Rice, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812
  • Charles Rice, aged 36, arrived in Maryland in 1812
  • Canlan Rice, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1816
  • Bridget Rice, aged 6, landed in New York, NY in 1855

Rice Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • David Rice, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Benjamin Rice, who arrived in Anapolis (Annapolis), Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Beriah Rice, who landed in Anapolis (Annapolis), Nova Scotia in 1760

Rice Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • James Rice, aged 39, a servant, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the brig "Ugoni" from Belfast
  • Catherine Rice, aged 23, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Ann & Mary" from Cork
  • Ann Rice, aged 18, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Ann & Mary" from Cork
  • John Rice, aged 20, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast
  • Mary Rice, aged 24, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Dorcas Savage" from Belfast

Rice Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Rice, English convict from Somerset, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • Catherine Rice, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Amphitrite" on August 21, 1833, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Mary Rice, English convict from York, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on December 14, 1835, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • Janet Rice arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Katherine Stewart Forbes" in 1839
  • Frederick Wm. Rice, aged 26, a miller, arrived in South Australia in 1848 aboard the ship "Alfred"

Rice Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • William Rice arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1842
  • Edward Rice arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Owen Glendowner" in 1864
  • Silas Rice, aged 32, a labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Steinwarder" in 1864
  • Annie Emma Rice, aged 27, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Steinwarder" in 1864
  • Henry John Rice, aged 2, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Steinwarder" in 1864


  • Alexander Hamilton Rice (1875-1956), American physician, geographer, geologist and explorer
  • Condoleezza Rice (b. 1954), American professor, diplomat, author, and national security expert, 66th United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor from 2001 to 2005
  • Susan Elizabeth Rice (b. 1964), American foreign policy advisor and United States Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Stuart Alan Rice (b. 1932), American theoretical chemist and physical chemist who received the National Medal of Science in 1999
  • John C. Rice (1858-1915), American born Broadway stage actor who is credited with performing the first onscreen kiss
  • Elmer Rice (1892-1967), American dramatist awarded the 1929 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
  • Peter Rice (1935-1992), Irish structural engineer awarded the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture by the Royal Institute of British Architects
  • Sir Timothy Miles Bindon Rice (b. 1944), English Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Tony Award and Grammy Award-winning lyricist best known for his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Spencer "Spenny" Nolan Rice (b. 1967), Canadian writer, director, producer, and comedian
  • Mrs. Margaret Rice (d. 1912), (née Norton), aged 39, Irish Third Class passenger from Athlone, Westmeath who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett



  • A Genealogical Register of Edmund Rice Descendants by Lowther Ellis.
  • Henry Rice (1717-1818), the Pioneer Tennessee Gristmiller and his Twelve Children by Melvin Weaver Little.

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: Secret et hardi
Motto Translation: Secret and bold.



  1. 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.
  2. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  3. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  4. Evans, Gwynfor. Wales: A History: 2000 Years of Welsh History. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-120-2).
  5. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  6. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  8. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  9. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  11. ...

The Rice Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Rice 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 22 May 2015 at 18:59.

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