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Waits is a name that was formed by the Anglo-Saxon society of old Britain. The name was thought to have been used for someone who once worked as a watchman. Waits is an occupational surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Occupational surnames were derived from the primary activity of the bearer. In the Middle Ages, people did not generally live off of the fruits of their labor in a particular job. Rather, they performed a specialized task, as well as farming, for subsistence. Other occupational names were derived from an object associated with a particular activity. This surname comes from the Anglo-Norman-French word waite, which means watch. 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.

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The surname Waits was first found in Cornwall where they were Lords of the manor of Arwennick, and held a family seat from very ancient times some say well before the Norman Conquest in 1066.

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Waits include Waite, Wait, Wayte, Waits, Waight and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Waits research. Another 121 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1611, 1699 and 1688 are included under the topic Early Waits History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Another 43 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Waits Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Waits family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 37 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Waits were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records:

Waits Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Elizabeth Waits, who landed in New Jersey in 1675

Waits Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Mrs. Edward Waits, aged 28, who emigrated to the United States, in 1907
  • E. Mc S. Waits, who emigrated to America, in 1912
  • Walter Waits, aged 27, who emigrated to the United States, in 1915
  • Richard L. Waits, aged 32, who landed in America, in 1917
  • Newton J. Waits, aged 33, who landed in America, in 1919
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  • Nasheet Waits, American jazz musician
  • Freddie Douglas Waits (1943-1989), American hard bop and post-bop drummer
  • Michael Richard Waits (b. 1952), former American professional baseball pitcher
  • Thomas Alan "Tom" Waits (b. 1949), American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor
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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.

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Citations



    Other References

    1. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
    2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
    3. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
    4. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
    5. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
    6. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
    7. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
    8. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
    9. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
    10. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
    11. ...

    The Waits Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Waits 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 19 December 2013 at 12:35.

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