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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Scottish


One of the most common classes of Scottish surnames is the patronymic surname, which arose out of the vernacular and religious naming traditions. The vernacular or regional naming tradition is the oldest and most pervasive type of patronymic surname. According to this custom, names were originally composed of vocabulary elements from the local language. Patronymic surnames of this type were usually derived from the personal name of the original bearer's father. The surname Watt is derived from from the personal name Walter, meaning strong warrior.

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The surname Watt was first found in Worcestershire. They held a family seat here from early times, and were descended from Simon Wathes, a soldier of fortune, who accompanied King Stephen into England in the year 1135. John Wathes was Lord of the manor of Eston in that county in 1347. His son, William Wathes, was father of Simon Wattys. Sir Richard Wattys, his son, fought under the banner of York at the Battle of Wakefield where he died leaving Thomas Wattys the manor of Whitefield in Northampton.

Scottish surnames are distinguished by a multitude of spelling variations because, over the centuries, the names were frequently translated into and from Gaelic. Furthermore, the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent because medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules. The different versions of a surname, such as the inclusion of the patronymic prefix "Mac", frequently indicated a religious or Clan affiliation or even a division of the family. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into Scotland, accelerating accentuating the alterations to various surnames. The name Watt has also been spelled Watts, Wathes, Wattys, Wath, Watt and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Watt research. Another 436 words (31 lines of text) covering the years 1446, 1511, 1586, 1596, 1609, 1615, 1663, and 1796 are included under the topic Early Watt History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Watt Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Watt family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 91 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Watt, or a variant listed above:

Watt Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • David Watt settled in Barbados in 1680
  • Hannah Watt, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1684

Watt Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Charles Watt, who landed in Mississippi in 1798

Watt Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Joseph Watt, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • Margaret Watt, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • James Watt, who arrived in New Jersey in 1811
  • Jane Watt, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • Andrew Watt, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812


Watt Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Alexander Watt, who landed in Canada in 1820
  • Catharine Watt, aged 3, arrived in Quebec in 1821
  • George Watt, aged 40, landed in Quebec in 1821
  • Janet Watt, aged 10, arrived in Quebec in 1821
  • John Watt, aged 20, a farmer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Protector" in 1834


Watt Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • William Watt, a mason, arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • James Watt arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Rajasthan" in 1838
  • Annie Watt arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Glenswilly" in 1839
  • Mary Watt, Scottish convict from Edinburgh, who was transported aboard the "Anna Maria" on October 4, 1851, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Thomas Watt, aged 44, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Magdalena"


Watt Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • James Watt landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Lady Lilford
  • William Hogg Watt landed in Wanganui, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Catherine Johnson
  • P Watt landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Lady Nugent
  • Ann Watt, aged 17, a sempstress, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1841
  • Peter Watt, aged 16, a labourer, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1841


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  • Douglas Benjamin Watt (1914-2009), American theater critic who reported on classical music and opera for The New Yorker, one of the founders of the Drama Desk Awards
  • Eddie Dean Watt (b. 1941), American former Major League Baseball relief pitcher
  • Michael David "Mike" Watt (b. 1957), American bassist, singer and songwriter, known for his work with The Minutemen
  • James Gaius Watt (b. 1938), American government administrator, Secretary of the Interior (1981-83)
  • Hamish Watt (1925-2014), Scottish politician, farmer and writer, Member of Parliament for Banffshire (1974-1979), Rector of the University of Aberdeen (1985-1988)
  • Miss Robertha Josephine "Bertha" Watt, aged 12, Scottish Second Class passenger from Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 9
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Inglis "Bessie" Watt, (née Milne), aged 40, Scottish Second Class passenger from Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 9
  • Joseph Watt VC (1887-1955), Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • James Watt Jr. (1769-1848), Scottish engineer, businessman and activist, son of James Watt
  • Anthony "Tony" Watt (b. 1993), Scottish footballer

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  • Some Descendants of John Watts of Virginia by Soule J. Watt.
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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: Fide et fiducia
Motto Translation: By fidelity and confidence.

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  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  3. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  4. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  5. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  6. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  7. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  8. 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.
  9. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. 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).
  11. ...

The Watt Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Watt 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 31 October 2015 at 04:55.

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