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

Origins Available: French, Irish, Jewish, Welsh

Where did the Welsh Davis family come from? When did the Davis family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Davis family history?

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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Welsh surnames are relatively few in number, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. There are many factors that explain the preponderance of Welsh variants, but the earliest is found during the Middle Ages when Welsh surnames came into use. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, which often resulted in a single person's name being inconsistently recorded over his lifetime. The transliteration of Welsh names into English also accounts for many of the spelling variations: the unique Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh had many sounds the English language was incapable of accurately reproducing. It was also common for members of a same surname to change their names slightly, in order to signify a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations. For all of these reasons, the many spelling variations of particular Welsh names are very important. The surname Davis has occasionally been spelled Davies, Davis, Divis and others.

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).


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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.

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Another 307 words(22 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Davis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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.

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In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many people from Wales joined the general migration to North America in search of land, work, and freedom. These immigrants greatly contributed to the rapid development of the new nations of Canada and the United States. They also added a rich and lasting cultural heritage to their newly adopted societies. Investigation of immigration and passenger lists has revealed 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


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


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
  • Wm 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


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
  • Edwd Davis, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Elijah Davis, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750


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, NB aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1833
  • John Davis, aged 20, a farmer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • Andrew Davis, aged 24, arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Highlander" in 1834
  • Susanna Davis, aged 24, arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Highlander" in 1834

Davis Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century


  • Mrs. Davis, who arrived in St John, New Brunswick in 1907
  • J B Davis, who arrived in St 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
  • John Davis landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Cuba
  • Mr Davis landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Duke of Roxburgh


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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  • Roger H. Davis (1923-2015), American talent agent for Clint Eastwood, Elvis Presley and Warren Beatty
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Thomas James "Tom" Davis (1952-2012), Emmy Award-winning American writer, comedian, and author
  • Brigadier-General John Fuller Davis (1892-1978), American Deputy Headquarter Commandant Tokyo (1947-1949)

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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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  1. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  2. 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).
  3. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  6. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  8. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  9. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  10. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 17 August 2015 at 11:08.

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