Show ContentsPowis History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The forbears of the name Powis once lived in Powys, an ancient district in North Wales. It was divided into the counties of Brecknock, Radnor, and Montgomery by the English in the late 13th century according to the terms of the Statute of Rhuddan.

Early Origins of the Powis family

The surname Powis was first found in Shropshire, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Powis family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Powis research. Another 106 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1648, 1649, 1688, 1713, 1714, 1719 and 1732 are included under the topic Early Powis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Powis Spelling Variations

There are relatively few surnames native to Wales, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. Early variations of Welsh surnames can be explained by the fact that very few people in the early Middle Ages were literate. Priests and the few other literate people were responsible for recording names in official documents. And because most people could not specific how to properly record their names it was up to the individual recorder of that time to determine how a spoken name should be recorded. Variations due to the imprecise or improper recording of a name continued later in history when names originally composed in the Brythonic Celtic, language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, were transliterated into English. Welsh names that were documented in English often changed dramatically since the native language of Wales, which was highly inflected, did not copy well. Occasionally, however, spelling variations were carried out according to an individual's specific design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations could be indicated by minor variations. The spelling variations of the name Powis have included Powys, Powis and others.

Early Notables of the Powis family

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Sir Thomas Powys (1649-1719), from Henley Hall, Shropshire, Attorney General to King James II. He was chief prosecutor at the trial of the Seven Bishops in June 1688, and was a Justice of...
Another 43 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Powis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Powis migration to the United States +

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 Powis were found:

Powis Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Powis, who arrived in Virginia in 1621 [1]
  • Robert Powis, who arrived in Virginia in 1649 [1]
Powis Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Powis, who settled in Virginia in 1747
  • Elizabeth Powis and her husband settled in New England in 1760
Powis Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Richard Powis, who landed in New York, NY in 1834 [1]
  • Solomon Powis, who landed in Mississippi in 1887 [1]

Australia Powis migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Powis Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Powis, British convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Competitor"18th March 1823, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [2]
  • Henry Powis, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Christina" in 1841 [3]
  • George Powis, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Christina" in 1841 [3]
  • Mr. Richard Powis, Welsh convict who was convicted in Monmouth, Monmouthshire, Wales for 10 years, transported aboard the "Equestrian" on 30th June 1845, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island) [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Powis (post 1700) +

  • Carl Edgar Powis (1928-1999), American Major League Baseball player
  • William Henry Powis (1808-1836), English wood-engraver, regarded as one of the best wood-engravers in his day
  • Geoff Charles Powis (1945-2001), Canadian ice hockey player
  • Trevor Lynn Powis (b. 1949), retired Canadian professional ice hockey forward
  • Alfred Powis (1930-2007), Canadian Mining Company Director

The Powis Motto +

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: Parta tueri
Motto Translation: Defend your acquisitions.

  1. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th March 2021). Retrieved from
  3. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CHRISTINA from London. Retrieved from
  4. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th May 2022). on Facebook