Watkins History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

A product of the ancient Brythonic Celts of Wales, the name Watkins, is from the personal name Walter. The surname Watkins is derived from the pet form Wat, which is supplemented by the common diminutive suffix -kin.

Early Origins of the Watkins family

The surname Watkins was first found in Breconshire (Welsh: Sir Frycheiniog), a traditional county in southern Wales, which takes its name from the Welsh kingdom of Brycheiniog (5th-10th centuries), where they held a family seat at Pennoyre from ancient times and early in the eleventh century branched to Llangorse in that same shire.

Early History of the Watkins family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Watkins research. Another 45 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1653, 1670, 1660, 1665 and 1670 are included under the topic Early Watkins History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Watkins Spelling Variations

Welsh surnames are relatively few in number, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. There are many factors that explain the preponderance of Welsh variants, but the earliest is found during the Middle Ages when Welsh surnames came into use. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, which often resulted in a single person's name being inconsistently recorded over his lifetime. The transliteration of Welsh names into English also accounts for many of the spelling variations: the unique Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh had many sounds the English language was incapable of accurately reproducing. It was also common for members of a same surname to change their names slightly, in order to signify a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations. For all of these reasons, the many spelling variations of particular Welsh names are very important. The surname Watkins has occasionally been spelled Watkins, Watkyns, Watkens, Watkin and others.

Early Notables of the Watkins family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Morgan Watkins ( fl. 1653-1670), English Quaker from Herefordshire who was imprisoned in 1660 in St. Albans gaol and later twice in 1665...
Another 32 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Watkins Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Watkins family to Ireland

Some of the Watkins 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 Watkins migration to the United States +

In the 1800s and 1900s, many Welsh families left for North America, in search of land, work, and freedom. Those who made the trip successfully helped contribute to the growth of industry, commerce, and the cultural heritage of both Canada and the United States. In the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Watkins

Watkins Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • James Watkins, who settled in Virginia in 1607
  • James Watkins, who landed in Jamestown, Va in 1607 [1]
  • Evan Watkins, who settled in Virginia in 1622
  • Daniell Watkins, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 [1]
  • Rees Watkins, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Watkins Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Margery Watkins, who arrived in Virginia in 1702 [1]
  • Eliza Watkins, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [1]
  • Robert Watkins, who arrived in Virginia in 1715 [1]
  • Hezekiah Watkins, who landed in New York in 1744 [1]
  • John Watkins, who landed in North Carolina in 1748 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Watkins Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Watkins, aged 41, who landed in New York in 1812 [1]
  • Margaret Watkins settled with her husband in Norfolk, Virginia in 1822 with her six children
  • Archibald H Watkins, who landed in Texas in 1836 [1]
  • Isaac Watkins, who arrived in Mobile County, Ala in 1836 [1]
  • Mary Watkins, aged 40, who landed in Key West, Fla in 1837 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Watkins migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Watkins Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Miss. Elizabeth Watkins U.E. who settled in Bell Vue, Beaver Harbor, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 daughter of Samuel Watkins listed as a child more than 10 years of age [2]
  • Mr. John Watkins U.E. who settled in Bell Vue, Beaver Harbor, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 son of Samuel Watkins listed as a child more than 10 years of age [2]
  • Miss. Mary Watkins U.E. who settled in Bell Vue, Beaver Harbor, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 daughter of Samuel Watkins listed as a child more than 10 years of age [2]
  • Mr. Michalaleel Watkins U.E. who settled in Bell Vue, Beaver Harbor, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 son of Samuel Watkins listed as a child more than 10 years of age [2]
  • Mr. Morris Watkins U.E. who settled in Bell Vue, Beaver Harbor, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 son of Samuel Watkins listed as a child more than 10 years of age [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Watkins Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Henry Watkins who was a fisherman of Little Harbour in Twillingate Newfoundland in 1814 [3]
  • Henry Watkins, who landed in Canada in 1816

Australia Watkins migration to Australia +

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

Watkins Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Watkins, (b. 1788), aged 27, English convict who was convicted in Hereford, Herefordshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Baring" in April 1815, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1886 [4]
  • Mr. Thomas Watkins, (Tom), (b. 1788), aged 27, English carter who was convicted in Gloucester, Glouchestershire, England for life for stealing, transported aboard the "Baring" in April 1815, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1867 [4]
  • Samuel Watkins, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Robert Watkins, English convict from Southampton, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [6]
  • John Watkins, English convict from Gloucester, who was transported aboard the "Andromeda" on October 16, 1826, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Watkins 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:

Watkins Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James E Watkins, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • J B Watkins, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Mr. Watkins, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Joseph Fletcher" arriving in New Plymouth, North Island, New Zealand in September 1852 [8]
  • Mrs. Watkins, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Joseph Fletcher" arriving in New Plymouth, North Island, New Zealand in September 1852 [8]
  • Child Watkins, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Joseph Fletcher" arriving in New Plymouth, North Island, New Zealand in September 1852 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Watkins (post 1700) +

  • Beverly "Guitar" Watkins (1939-2019), American blues guitarist
  • Frank Watkins (1968-2015), American heavy metal musician best known as the bass player for the death metal band Obituary
  • Enid Watkins (1890-1971), American singer and dancer
  • Aaron Sherman Watkins (1863-1941), American politician, Prohibition Party Presidential candidate (1920) and Prohibition Party Vice Presidential candidate (1908)
  • Admiral James D. Watkins (1927-2012), American Naval officer and cabinet member, Chief of Naval Operations (1982–1986), Secretary of Energy (1989–1993)
  • Arthur Vivian Watkins (1886-1973), American politician, Republican U.S. Senator from 1947 to 1959
  • Master Sergeant Travis E. Watkins (1920-1950), American recipient of the Medal of Honor
  • Tionne Tenese Watkins (b. 1970), four-time Grammy Award-winning American singer, actress, author, poet and executive producer
  • Carleton E. Watkins (1829-1916), American photographer
  • Douglas Watkins (1934-1962), American jazz double bassist
  • ... (Another 19 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Cornwall
  • William John Watkins (d. 1942), British Ordinary Seaman aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [9]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. John Watkins (b. 1901), English Stoker Petty Officer serving for the Royal Navy from Sundbury, Middlesex, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [10]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Raymond J Watkins, British Engine Room Artificer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [11]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Stanley Mynton Watkins (1918-1939), British Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [12]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Lenvil Leo Watkins, American Fireman Second Class from Kentucky, USA 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 [13]


The Watkins 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: Pen-aur-y-chalon Wir
Motto Translation: A golden head and true heart.


Suggested Readings for the name Watkins +

  • 201 Ancestors and Descendants of George Watkins by George Watkins Anderson Jr., Henry Watkins of Henrico County by Jane McMurty Allen, James Watkins and Catherine Hen and Their Descendants by Austin E. Dwight.

  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/baring
  5. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1820 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1820
  6. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 155 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/arab/1822
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Andromeda voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1826 with 147 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/andromeda/1826
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ Force Z Survivors Crew List HMS Cornwall (Retrieved 2018, February 13th) - Retrieved from https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listcornwallcrew.html#A
  10. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  11. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  12. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  13. ^ 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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