An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
Origins Available: English, Irish
The name Wales is an old Anglo-Saxon name. It comes from when a family lived near a stone-built wall. Wales is a local surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Other types of local surnames include topographic surnames, which could be given to a person who lived beside any physical feature, such as a hill, stream, church or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. The surname Wales referred to a person who lived beside a large stone wall, which was used either for the purpose of fortification, or to keep back the encroachment of the sea. Members of the Wales family were established in Gloucestershire prior to the Norman Conquest of England, in 1066. By the time of the Conquest, they were major landholders in that county.
The surname Wales was first found in Gloucestershire where they held a family seat from very ancient times and appeared as holders of lands in the Domesday Book compiled in 1086 by King William of England. The name was from the Anglo Saxon Wal, meaning a stranger. Wales is a parish, in the union of Worksop, S. division of the wapentake of Strafforth and Tickhill in the West Riding of Yorkshire. "This parish, in the Domesday Survey called Walise, belonged to Morcar, Earl of Northumberland, in the reign of Edward the Confessor." 
Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Wales were recorded, including Wall, Walls, Wale, Walles and others.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wales research. Another 267 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1210, 1620, 1679, 1647, 1728, 1588, 1666, 1760, 1789 and are included under the topic Early Wales History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 179 words (13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wales Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the Wales family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 147 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.
To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Wales family emigrate to North America:
Wales Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
Wales Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Wales Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
The Wales Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Wales 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 29 February 2016 at 10:56.