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. [1]

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. [2]

The name Rees appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 in Cheshire [3] and later as a forename, Resus filius Griffini was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Devon in 1178. Griffinus filius Res, or Ris was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Shropshire and Gloucestershire in 1198. In Lincolnshire, William Res was found in the Curia Regis Rolls for 1203 and later, John Rees was listed in the Feet of Fines for Suffolk in 1288. Later again, Walter Rys was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Worcestershire in 1327. [4]

"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. " [5]

Early History of the Reese family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Reese research. Another 162 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1615, 1601, 1607, 1606, 1647, 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. [6] 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.

Reese Ranking

In the United States, the name Reese is the 372nd most popular surname with an estimated 74,610 people with that name. [7]


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 [8]
  • William Reese, who arrived in Maryland in 1679 [8]
Reese Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Lawrence Reese, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1760 [8]
Reese Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Reese, who arrived in New York in 1833 [8]
  • David Reese, aged 26, who arrived in Missouri in 1844 [8]
  • Charles Reese, aged 37, who arrived in Missouri in 1848 [8]
  • Frederick Reese, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1853 [8]
  • George Reese, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1856 [8]
  • ... (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
  • Mr. Edward Reese, English convict who was convicted in Shropshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 3rd November 1833, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Mr. George Reese, English convict who was convicted in Newington, London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Cressy" on 28th April 1843, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [10]

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 [11]
  • 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 [11]
  • 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 [11]
  • 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 [11]
  • 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 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Reese migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [12]
Reese Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Lawrence Reese, who arrived in Barbados in 1678
  • Bartholomew and Bennett Reese, who arrived in Barbados in 1680 with their servants

Contemporary Notables of the name Reese (post 1700) +

  • Floyd Reese (1948-2021), American professional football coach and executive, general manager of the Tennessee Titans (1994-2006)
  • Michael P. Reese (1978-2021), American politician, Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (2009-2021), he died from complications arising from Covid-19 on January 2, 2021
  • Zane Reese (b. 1961), American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Texas 13th District, 2002 [13]
  • William S. Reese, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 8th District, 1862-63 [13]
  • William P. Reese, American politician, Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from Cambria County, 1897-98 [13]
  • William G. Reese, American Republican politician, Mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, 1922-23 [13]
  • Wayne Reese, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Wyoming, 2004 [13]
  • 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 [13]
  • Tim Reese, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Oklahoma, 2004 [13]
  • Thomas J. Reese, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1940 [13]
  • ... (Another 67 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Monongah Mine
  • Mr. Hugh Reese (b. 1887), Italian coal miner who was in mine 8 at the Monongah mine on 6th December 1907 when it exploded and collapsed; he died [14]
Winter Quarters coal mine
  • Mr. Richard David Reese (b. 1855), Welsh mine worker from Glamorganshire, Wales residing in Scofield, Utah who worked in the Winter Quarters coal mine on 1st May 1900, when 10 of the 25lb kegs of black powder exploded; he died in the explosion [15]
  • Mr. William Charles Reese (b. 1871), American mine worker from Scranton, Pennsylvania who worked in the Winter Quarters coal mine on 1st May 1900, when 10 of the 25lb kegs of black powder exploded; he died in the explosion [15]


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 +

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

  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. Institute of Historical Research, 1849, Print.
  6. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  7. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 21st May 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/cressy
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  12. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  13. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 3) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  14. ^ Monongah Mining Disaster retrieved on 8th August 2021. (Retrieved fromhttps://usminedisasters.miningquiz.com/saxsewell/monongah.htm).
  15. ^ Miners killed in Winter Quarters (retrieved 28th July 2021). Retrieved from http://www.carbon-utgenweb.com/miners.html


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