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.

Watkins World Ranking

In the United States, the name Watkins is the 174th most popular surname with an estimated 136,785 people with that name. [1] However, in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Watkins is ranked the 379th most popular surname with an estimated 124 people with that name. [2] And in Australia, the name Watkins is the 373rd popular surname with an estimated 9,872 people with that name. [3] New Zealand ranks Watkins as 307th with 1,990 people. [4] The United Kingdom ranks Watkins as 221st with 26,124 people. [5]

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 [6]
  • Evan Watkins, who settled in Virginia in 1622
  • Daniell Watkins, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 [6]
  • 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 [6]
  • Eliza Watkins, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [6]
  • Robert Watkins, who arrived in Virginia in 1715 [6]
  • Hezekiah Watkins, who landed in New York in 1744 [6]
  • John Watkins, who landed in North Carolina in 1748 [6]
  • ... (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 [6]
  • Margaret Watkins settled with her husband in Norfolk, Virginia in 1822 with her six children
  • Archibald H Watkins, who landed in Texas in 1836 [6]
  • Isaac Watkins, who arrived in Mobile County, Ala in 1836 [6]
  • Mary Watkins, aged 40, who landed in Key West, Fla in 1837 [6]
  • ... (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 [7]
  • 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 [7]
  • 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 [7]
  • 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 [7]
  • 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 [7]
  • ... (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 [8]
  • 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
  • Miss Elizabeth Watkins, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Canada" in March 1810, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Miss Sarah Watkins, (b. 1788), aged 22, English convict who was convicted in Kent, England for 7 years for fraud, transported aboard the "Canada" in March 1810, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, she did in 1832 [9]
  • Miss Mary Watkins, (b. 1759), aged 55, English convict who was convicted in Hereford, Herefordshire, England for life for murder, transported aboard the "Broxbournebury" in January 1814, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, she died in 1832 [10]
  • Mr. James Watkins, British Convict who was convicted in Southampton, Hampshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 27th October 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [11]
  • Samuel Watkins, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [12]
  • ... (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 [13]
  • Mrs. Watkins, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Joseph Fletcher" arriving in New Plymouth, North Island, New Zealand in September 1852 [13]
  • Child Watkins, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Joseph Fletcher" arriving in New Plymouth, North Island, New Zealand in September 1852 [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Watkins migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [14]
Watkins Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Nicholas Watkins, who settled in Barbados in 1639

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 21 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Frank Rock Slide
  • Mrs. John Watkins, Canadian resident of Frank, Alberta who survived the Frank Rock Slide on 29th April 1903 [15]
  • Mr. Thomas Watkins, Canadian resident of Frank, Alberta who survived the Frank Rock Slide on 29th April 1903 [15]
  • Miss Fernie Watkins, Canadian resident of Frank, Alberta who survived the Frank Rock Slide on 29th April 1903 [15]
  • Miss Ruby Watkins, Canadian resident of Frank, Alberta who survived the Frank Rock Slide on 29th April 1903 [15]
  • Mr. John Watkins, Canadian miner working in the town of Frank, Alberta who survived the Frank Rock Slide on 29th April 1903 [15]
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 [16]
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 [17]
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 [18]
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 [19]
Monongah Mine
  • Mr. A. J. Watkins (b. 1869), American coal miner who was in mine 6 at the Monongah mine on 6th December 1907 when it exploded and collapsed; he died [20]
  • Mr. Milroy Watkins (b. 1884), American coal miner who was in mine 6 at the Monongah mine on 6th December 1907 when it exploded and collapsed; he died [20]
  • Mr. Jessie Watkins (b. 1884), African American coal miner who was in mine 8 at the Monongah mine on 6th December 1907 when it exploded and collapsed; he died [20]
Prince of Wales colliery
  • Mr. Thomas Watkins (b. 1855), Welsh coal miner who was working at the Prince of Wales Colliery in Abercarn, Wales on the 11th September 1878 when there was a coal mine explosion; he died [21]
  • Mr. Albert Watkins (b. 1858), Welsh coal miner who was working at the Prince of Wales Colliery in Abercarn, Wales on the 11th September 1878 when there was a coal mine explosion; he died [21]
  • Mr. Sydney Watkins (b. 1862), Welsh coal miner who was working at the Prince of Wales Colliery in Abercarn, Wales on the 11th September 1878 when there was a coal mine explosion; he died [21]
Senghenydd colliery
  • Mr. William Watkins (b. 1890), Welsh coal miner from Caerphilly, Wales who was working at the Senghenydd colliery when there was an explosion on the 14th October 1913; he died
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 [22]


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 +

  • 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. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  3. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  4. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  5. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/canada
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/broxbournebury
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  12. ^ 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
  13. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  14. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  15. ^ Calgary Herald news article retrieved 11th August 2021. (Retrieved from https://smartcdn.prod.postmedia.digital/calgaryherald/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Calgary_Herald_Thu__Apr_30__1903_-copy-scaled.jpg).
  16. ^ Force Z Survivors Crew List HMS Cornwall (Retrieved 2018, February 13th) - Retrieved from https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listcornwallcrew.html#A
  17. ^ 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
  18. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  19. ^ 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
  20. ^ Monongah Mining Disaster retrieved on 8th August 2021. (Retrieved fromhttps://usminedisasters.miningquiz.com/saxsewell/monongah.htm).
  21. ^ Entombed in flood and flame (retrieved 3rd August 2021). Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20120603025705/http://www.crosskeys.me.uk/history/prince.htm
  22. ^ 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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