Waite History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Waite name was coined by the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. Waite was originally a name given to someone who worked as 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 Waite family

The surname Waite 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 Waite family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Waite 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 Waite History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Waite Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Waite are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Waite include: Waite, Wait, Wayte, Waits, Waight and others.

Early Notables of the Waite 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 Waite Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Waite World Ranking

In the United States, the name Waite is the 2,058th most popular surname with an estimated 14,922 people with that name. [6] However, in New Zealand, the name Waite is ranked the 798th most popular surname with an estimated 913 people with that name. [7] And in the United Kingdom, the name Waite is the 702nd popular surname with an estimated 9,542 people with that name. [8]

Ireland Migration of the Waite family to Ireland

Some of the Waite 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 Waite migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Waite or a variant listed above:

Waite Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Waite, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1630
  • Richard Waite, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1633 [9]
  • Gamaliel Waite, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1635 [9]
  • Thomas Waite, who arrived in Rhode Island in 1638 [9]
  • Sarah Waite, who landed in Virginia in 1663 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Waite Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Waite, who arrived in Virginia in 1713 [9]
  • Joseph Waite, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1739 [9]
  • John Waite, who settled in New York with his wife and six children in 1775
Waite Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Waite, aged 32, who arrived in New York in 1812 [9]
  • Henry Waite, who arrived in New York in 1846 [9]
  • B K Waite, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [9]
  • George Waite, who landed in Indiana in 1854 [9]
  • Fredrick Waite, who landed in Arkansas in 1885 [9]

Canada Waite migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Waite Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Waite U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1784 [10]
Waite Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Waldo Waite, who landed in Canada in 1834

Australia Waite migration to Australia +

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

Waite Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Benjamin Waite, (b. 1799), aged 24, British Convict who was convicted in York, Yorkshire, England for life , transported aboard the "Commodore Hayes" in April 1823, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1832 [11]
  • Elizabeth Waite, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1848 [12]
  • John Waite, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1848 [12]
  • Thomas Waite, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hindoo" in 1848 [13]
  • Louisa Waite, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hindoo" in 1848 [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Waite 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:

Waite Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Jerry Waite, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Mr. Waite, European settler originally settled on Auckland Islands, transported aboard the ship "Earl of Hardwicke" arriving in Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand on 24th August 1852 [14]
  • Mr. W. W. Waite, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Bosworth" arriving in Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand on 24th November 1857 [14]
  • Mrs. Waite, British settler travelling from London, UK with 4 children aboard the ship "Bosworth" arriving in Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand on 24th November 1857 [14]
  • Edward Waite, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Nimroud" in 1864
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Waite (post 1700) +

  • Ralph Waite (1928-2014), American actor, best known for his role as John Walton, Sr., on the CBS TV series The Waltons (1972-1981)
  • Morrison "Mott" Remick Waite (1816-1888), Chief Justice of the United States from 1874 to 1888
  • Edwin G. Waite, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 16th District, 1855-56 [15]
  • Davis Hanson Waite (1825-1901), American Republican politician, Member of Wisconsin State Assembly, 1857; Member of Kansas State Legislature, 1879; Governor of Colorado, 1893-95 [15]
  • D. E. Waite, American Republican politician, Supervisor of Scio Township, Michigan; Elected 1919 [15]
  • Charles P. Waite, American politician, Justice of Utah Territorial Supreme Court, 1862-64 [15]
  • Byron S. Waite, American politician, Circuit Judge in Michigan 3rd Circuit, 1899-1900; Appointed 1899 [15]
  • Buddy L. Waite, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate in primary for Kentucky State House of Representatives 66th District, 1975 [15]
  • Benjamin W. Waite Jr., American Republican politician, Supervisor of Scio Township, Michigan, 1882-83; Defeated, 1896 [15]
  • Benjamin W. Waite, American politician, Delegate to Michigan State Constitutional Convention, 1850 [15]
  • ... (Another 28 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Waite 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.


Suggested Readings for the name Waite +

  • Corbin-Waite-Cooper of Baltimore County and City by Dorothy Cooper Knoff.
  • Six Generation of Descendants from Sylvester Craig, Timothy Walker, Martin Waite, Sr., and Nathan Hough by Dorothy Marsh Brunka.

  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. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  8. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  9. ^ 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)
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retrieved 4th March 2021, retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/commodore-hayes)
  12. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BOLTON 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848Bolton.htm
  13. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HINDOO 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848Hindoo.gif
  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


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