Wait History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Wait is from the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name was given to a person who was a watchman. This surname comes from the Anglo-Norman-French word waite, which means watch. [1]

"To the former title of this official duty it is we owe the fact of our still terming, any company of night serenaders 'waits,' and especially those bands of strolling minstrels who keep up the good old custom of watching in Christmas morning. A good old custom, I say, even though it may cost us a few pence, and rouse us somewhat rudely, may be, from our slumbers." [2]

Waits or Waites were British town pipers. Up until 1835, every British town and city of note had a band of Waites and more often than not, they played and instrument called the Wait-pipe.

Early Origins of the Wait family

The surname Wait was first found in the Norman Exchequer Rolls of 1180, where Robert La Waite is entered. [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Robert le Weyte, Oxfordshire; Sarra le Weyte, Oxfordshire; and Ralph le Weyte, or Wayte, Essex. Later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Johannes Wayte; and Willelmus Wayte. [2]

Roger le Wayte was listed in Suffolk in 1221; Hugh le Weyt was listed in the Assize Rolls for Staffordshire in 1251; Roger le Wate in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1296; and Adam le Whaite was registered in Gloucestershire in 1349. [4]

"Adam de Wayte, in 1306, held in Lincolnshire; and a monumental brass in Stoke-Charity Church commemorates Thomas Wayte, who died in 1482." [3]

Further to the north in Scotland, the name had the same meaning so accordingly, early records were founds there too. Adam Wayt, was a witness in Aberbrothoc, 1312, and Thomas dictus Weyt, was a chaplain in Inverness in 1361. Huchown the Wate was a tacksman in Grenyng and Bankis in Marwek, 1492. [5]

Early History of the Wait family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wait research. Another 178 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1611, 1699, 1595, 1665, 1636, 1795, 1610, 1505, 1525, 1684, 1665, 1634, 1688, 1634, 1642, 1643, 1747 and 1777 are included under the topic Early Wait History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wait Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Wait family name include Waite, Wait, Wayte, Waits, Waight and others.

Early Notables of the Wait family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir Nicholas Waite; and Thomas (Wayte) Waite, (fl. 1634-1688) an English soldier who fought for Parliament in the English Civil War, a member of the Long Parliament, and one of the regicides of King Charles I. "According to Royalist authors, he was the son of an alehouse-keeper at Market Overton in Rutland. He was more probably the Thomas Waite, son of Henry Waite of Wymondham, Leicestershire...
Another 74 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wait Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wait Ranking

In the United States, the name Wait is the 10,691st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Wait family to Ireland

Some of the Wait family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Wait migration to the United States +

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name Wait or a variant listed above:

Wait Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Wait, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1634 [7]
  • Thomas Wait, who arrived in Rhode Island in 1638 [7]
  • John Wait, who landed in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1662 [7]
Wait Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Raynes Wait, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1767
  • Hugh Wait, aged 27, who arrived in New York or Georgia in 1775 [7]
Wait Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Wait, who landed in New York in 1822 [7]
  • Edward Wait, who arrived in New York in 1822 [7]
  • Benjamin Wait, who landed in New York in 1845 [7]
  • Hester Wait, who arrived in New York in 1847 [7]

Canada Wait migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Wait Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. George Wait U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1784 [8]
Wait Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Garner Wait, who landed in Canada in 1830
  • Joseph M Wait, who landed in Canada in 1836
  • Samuel Wait, who landed in Canada in 1840
  • George Wait, who arrived in Canada in 1841
  • Griffin Wait, who landed in Canada in 1841
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Wait migration to Australia +

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

Wait Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Wait, (b. 1781), aged 22, English farmer who was convicted in Kent, England for life for stealing, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 4th December 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1868 [9]
  • John Wait, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Constance" in 1848 [10]
  • Francis Wait, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Princess Royal" in 1848 [11]
  • Mr. Adam Wait, British Convict who was convicted in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England for life, transported aboard the "Dudbrook" on 17th November 1852, arriving in Western Australia [12]
  • William Wait, aged 34, a butcher, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Neptune" [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Wait 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:

Wait Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Wait, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Jura" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd September 1858 [14]
  • Mrs. Wait, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow with 3 children aboard the ship "Jura" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 23rd September 1858 [14]

Contemporary Notables of the name Wait (post 1700) +

  • J. Paul Wait, American politician, Candidate in primary for Circuit Judge in Michigan 15th Circuit, 1953 [15]
  • I. G. Wait, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1868 [15]
  • Henry L. Wait, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Albany County 3rd District, 1863 [15]
  • H. C. Wait, American politician, Member of Minnesota State House of Representatives 3rd District, 1863; Member of Minnesota State Senate 3rd District, 1870-71 [15]
  • George W. Wait, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1856 [15]
  • George E. Wait, American politician, Delegate to Illinois State Constitutional Convention 46th District, 1869-70 [15]
  • Frank W. Wait, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1896; Member of Michigan Republican State Central Committee, 1899 [15]
  • David Wait, American politician, Supervisor of Delhi Township, Michigan, 1847-49, 1852-53, 1864-65 [15]
  • Albert S. Wait, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Hampshire, 1864 [15]
  • Addison Wait, American Republican politician, Secretary of State of Nebraska, 1911-15 [15]
  • ... (Another 12 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMAS Sydney II
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. James George Wait, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse (1941) and died in the sinking [17]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Wayland Lemoyne Wait, American Seaman First Class working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [18]


The Wait 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: Pro aris et focis
Motto Translation: For our altars and our home.


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  6. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 22nd March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel-and-experiment
  10. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CONSTANCE - 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848Constance.htm
  11. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PRINCESS ROYAL 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848PrincessRoyal.htm
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 23rd July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dudbrook
  13. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 26 October 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Neptune 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/neptune1853.shtml.
  14. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  15. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 11) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  16. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  17. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  18. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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