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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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.


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.

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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Powis research. Another 209 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1649, 1719, 1688, 1713, 1714, 1648 and 1732 are included under the topic Early Powis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


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...

Another 31 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Powis 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 Powis were found:

Powis Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Thomas Powis, who arrived in Virginia in 1621
  • Robert Powis, who arrived in Virginia in 1649
  • Robert Powis settled in Virginia in 1649

Powis Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Thomas Powis 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
  • Solomon Powis, who landed in Mississippi in 1887

Powis Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Henry Powis arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Christina" in 1841
  • George Powis arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Christina" in 1841

  • Carl Edgar Powis (1928-1999), American Major League Baseball player
  • 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 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.


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    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. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
    3. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
    4. 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).
    5. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
    6. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-005-8).
    7. Thirsk, Joan ed. Et. Al. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
    8. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
    9. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
    10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    11. ...

    The Powis Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Powis 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 5 November 2013 at 10:25.

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