Reese History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Welsh name Reese 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.

Early Origins of the Reese family

The surname Reese was 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. Sir Elidir Dhu who flourished temp. Richard I., was the direct descendant of the family of Rees of Killymaenllwyd, county Carmarthen. [1]

"In 1115, Grufydd ab Rhys, Prince of South Wales, took sanctuary in the church of Aberdaron, from the treachery of Grufydd ab Cynan, sovereign of North Wales, who intended to deliver him into the hands of the English monarch, Henry I. The young prince escaped with his partisans by night, and set forward on his journey to the deep forest of Strath Towy, in South Wales, where, having collected the adherents of his family, he commenced hostilities against the Norman and Flemish settlers. " [2]

Early History of the Reese family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Reese research. Another 124 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1615, 1541, 1624 and 1616 are included under the topic Early Reese History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Reese Spelling Variations

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 Reese have included Rees, Reece, Rhys, Ap Rhys and others.

Early Notables of the Reese family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Edmund Prys (c. 1541-1624), Welsh translator of the psalms into Welsh verse, son of Sion (John) ap Rhys of Tyddyn Du in the parish of Maen Twrog, Merionethshire. Prys was a skilful composer in the strict Welsh metres, and took an active part in the bardic life of his time. [3] Lewys Dwnn or more properly Lewys ap Rhys ap Owain (d. 1616?), was "Deputy-Herald for Wales, derived his accepted surname from...
Another 81 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Reese Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Reese 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 Reese were found:

Reese Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mary Reese, who landed in Virginia in 1622 [4]
  • Lawrence Reese, who arrived in Barbados in 1678
  • William Reese, who arrived in Maryland in 1679 [4]
  • Bartholomew and Bennett Reese, who arrived in Barbados in 1680 with their servants
Reese Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Lawrence Reese, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1760 [4]
Reese Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Reese, who arrived in New York in 1833 [4]
  • David Reese, aged 26, who arrived in Missouri in 1844 [4]
  • Charles Reese, aged 37, who arrived in Missouri in 1848 [4]
  • Frederick Reese, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1853 [4]
  • George Reese, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1856 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Reese migration to Australia +

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

Reese Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

New Zealand Reese migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Reese Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Alexander Reese, British carpenter travelling from London aboard the ship "Himalaya" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 10th February 1867 [6]
  • Miss Mary Reese, (b. 1851), aged 15, British domestic servant travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 5th January 1867 [6]
  • Miss Marion Reese, (b. 1850), aged 16, British domestic servant travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 5th January 1867 [6]
  • Mrs. Jane Reese, (b. 1819), aged 47, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 5th January 1867 [6]
  • Mr. Thomas Reese, (b. 1817), aged 49, British carpenter travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 5th January 1867 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Reese (post 1700) +

  • Zane Reese (b. 1961), American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Texas 13th District, 2002 [7]
  • William S. Reese, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 8th District, 1862-63 [7]
  • William P. Reese, American politician, Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from Cambria County, 1897-98 [7]
  • William G. Reese, American Republican politician, Mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, 1922-23 [7]
  • Wayne Reese, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Wyoming, 2004 [7]
  • Warren S. Reese Jr., American Republican politician, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, 1897-1906; Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Alabama, 1904 [7]
  • Tim Reese, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Oklahoma, 2004 [7]
  • Thomas J. Reese, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1940 [7]
  • Thomas B. Reese, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1956 [7]
  • Thomas Reese, American politician, Delegate to South Carolina secession convention, 1860 [7]
  • ... (Another 66 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Reese 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: Spes melioris aevi
Motto Translation: The hope of a better age.


Suggested Readings for the name Reese +

  • 378 The Genealogical Study of David Reese by Cynthia Jones Reese, Some German-American Families, 1460-1975 by Harriet R. Frische.

  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. Institute of Historical Research, 1849, Print.
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 3) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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