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Origins Available: French, Irish, Jewish, Welsh


The Welsh Davis surname is a patronymic, meaning son of David. Ultimately derived from the Hebrew name "David," meaning "beloved," the name became a popular given name throughout Medieval Europe due to the biblical king David of Israel. The popularity of the name was further increased in Britain due to it being the name of the Patron Saint of Wales. Little is known about Saint David, but he is thought to have been a 6th century monk and bishop. The name came to be used as a patronymic name by the Brythonic people of Wales. One of the most famous bearers of this personal name in Wales was David ap Gryffydd, the last Prince of North Wales, who was executed c. 1276 by King Edward I of England.

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The surname Davis was first found in Flintshire (Welsh: Sir y Fflint), a historic county, created after the defeat of the Welsh Kingdom of Gwynedd in 1284, and located in north-east Wales, where the Davis family held a family seat from very ancient times. They were descended from Cynrig Efell, Lord of Eglwysegle, the twin son of Madog ab Maredadd, the great grandson of Bleddyn ap Cynvin, Prince of Powys, head of the honorable and worthy third Royal Tribe of Wales, who was traitorously murdered in 1073 by the men of Ystrad Tywi, after he had governed all Wales for 13 years. Directly descended from this line was John ap Davydd (John Davies of Gwasanau in the county of Flint).

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 Davis have included Davies, Davis, Divis and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Davis research. Another 129 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1550, 1605, 1605, 1675, 1667, 1675, 1680, 1688, 1680, 1625, 1693, 1692, 1715, 1667, 1739, 1690, 1719, 1718, 1719, 1600, 1672, 1633, 1687, 1646, 1689, 1670, 1716, 1667, 1739 and are included under the topic Early Davis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was John Davis (1550-1605), an English navigator who discovered the Falkland Islands and what is now known as the Davis Strait; Francis Davies (1605-1675), a Welsh clergyman, Bishop of Llandaff (1667 to 1675); Edward Davis or Davies ( fl. c. 1680-1688) was an...

Another 113 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Davis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Davis family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 389 words (28 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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During the latter half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the people of Wales journeyed to North America to find a new life. They made major contributions to the arts, industry and commerce of both Canada and the United States, and added a rich cultural heritage to their newly adopted societies. A look at the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Davis:

Davis Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Dolor Davis, who arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Isbell Davis, aged 22, landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Dorothy Davis, who arrived in Virginia in 1636
  • Christopher Davis, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1636
  • Jenkin Davis, who landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1637
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Davis Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Faith Davis, who landed in Virginia in 1700
  • Johannah Davis, who landed in Virginia in 1702
  • Duke Davis, who landed in Virginia in 1703
  • Issabella Davis, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Geo Davis, who landed in Virginia in 1714
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Davis Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Hugh Davis, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1802
  • William Davis, William Davis, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1803-1827
  • William Davis, who landed in America in 1805
  • James Davis, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1806
  • John Davis, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
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Davis Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • A M Davis, who arrived in Mississippi in 1906
  • Albert Henry Davis, who arrived in Colorado in 1907
  • Henry Vincent Davis, who arrived in Alabama in 1917

Davis Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Charles Davis, who arrived in Newfoundland in 1713
  • Folk Davis, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Greenway Davis, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • James Davis, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • John Davis, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
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Davis Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Walter R Davis, who landed in Canada in 1831
  • Martha Davis, aged 20, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1833
  • John Davis, aged 20, a farmer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • James Davis, who landed in Canada in 1833
  • Andrew Davis, aged 24, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Highlander" in 1834
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Davis Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • Mrs. Davis, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907
  • J B Davis, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907

Davis Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Davis, English convict from Dorset, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • William Davis, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • George Davis, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • David Davis, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • John Davis, English convict from Kent, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • ...

Davis Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Charles O Davis landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1831
  • T Davis landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1837
  • James Davis landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • James Davis landed in Otakou, Otago, New Zealand in 1840
  • John Davis landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Cuba
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Davis Settlers in New Zealand in the 20th Century

  • Arthur Davis, aged 29, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "S. S. Waimana" in 1926
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  • Dennis Davis (d. 2016), American drummer and session musician best known for his work with David Bowie
  • James Z. Davis (1943-2016), American jurist on the Utah Court of Appeals (1993-2015)
  • Howard Edward Davis Jr. (1956-2015), American two-time gold medalist amateur and professional boxer
  • Richard E. Davis (1926-2015), American businessman child psychiatrist, instructor and author, inventor of KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce
  • Viola Davis (b. 1965), American Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominated, Primetime Emmy Award winning actress and producer, the first African-American woman to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
  • Roger H. Davis (1923-2015), American talent agent for Clint Eastwood, Elvis Presley and Warren Beatty
  • Ann Bradford Davis (1926-2014), American two-time Emmy Award winning television actress, best known for her role as Alice Nelson, the housekeeper in The Brady Bunch series (1969-1974) and her role in The Bob Cummings Show (1955-1959)
  • Shani Davis (b. 1982), American Olympic speed skater who won two gold and two sliver medals at the 2006 and 2010 games
  • Shelby Cullom Davis (1909-1994), American investment banker, philanthropist, and former United States Ambassador to Switzerland
  • Kathryn Wasserman Davis (1907-2013), American philanthropist and the widow of businessman Shelby Cullom Davis
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Davis Historic Events



Empress of Ireland

  • Mr. John Davis, British Fireman from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking on May 29th 1914
  • Mr. Peter Davis, British Fireman from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking on May 29th 1914

Flight 191

  • Mrs. Pat Davis, American passenger from Ashville, North Carolina, USA, who flew aboard American Airlines Flight 191 and died in the crash on May 25, 1979
  • Mrs. Mary Davis, American passenger from Chicago, Illinois, USA, who flew aboard American Airlines Flight 191 and died in the crash on May 25, 1979

Halifax Explosion

  • Mrs. Helena Mary  Davis (1877-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917 but later died due to injuries
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Ellen  Davis (1888-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mr. Charles W.  Davis (1903-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917

HMAS Sydney II

  • Mr. Stanley Roy Davis (1918-1941), Australian Leading Seaman from Hobart, New South Wales, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking
  • Mr. Thomas Edgar Davis (1919-1941), Australian Lieutenant from Geralton, New South Wales, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking

HMS Hood

  • Mr. Percy J Davis (b. 1915), English Stoker 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
  • Mr. Herbert A Davis (b. 1902), English Marine serving for the Royal Marine from Alverstoke, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
  • Mr. Gordon E Davis (b. 1918), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Leicester, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking

HMS Prince of Wales

  • Mr. Thomas A G Davis, British Petty Officer, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Sidney John Davis, British Marine, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking, was listed as missing and presumed killed during the evacuation of Singapore 1942
  • Mr. P F Davis, British Able Seaman, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking

HMS Repulse

  • Mr. Charles Davis, British Leading Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking

Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie)

  • Shannon Davis (1969-1988), American Student from Shelton, Connecticut, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died

RMS Lusitania

  • Mrs. Anna Davis, Canadian 2nd Class passenger from Welland, Ontario, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking and was recovered
  • Miss Emily Davis, Canadian 1st Class Passenger, Maid to the Allen family from Montréal, Quebec, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking

RMS Titanic

  • Mr. Stephen James Davis (d. 1912), aged 39, English Able Seaman from Landport, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Miss Mary Davis, aged 28, English Second Class passenger from London, England who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 13
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  • From the Rhondda Valley to the Clinch River Valley and Beyond: A Genealogy of the Descendants of John Davies (also Daivis) by Billie Ruth McNamara.
  • Amos Williams Davis: Family History, Including His Ancestors and Descendants by Eunice Freese Payne.
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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: Heb Dhuw heb ddym, Dhuw a digon
Motto Translation: Without God without anything, God is enough.

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Citations



    Other References

    1. 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).
    2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-005-8).
    3. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    4. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
    5. Thirsk, Joan ed. Et. Al. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
    6. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
    7. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
    8. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
    9. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
    10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    11. ...

    The Davis Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Davis 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 4 July 2016 at 12:56.

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