Show ContentsWays History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient roots of the Ways family name are in the Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Ways comes from when the family lived in Dorset where Roger de Waie was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1194. Later William Waye was recorded in 1236 and Richard de la Weye was found in Devon in 1249.

In Cambridgeshire, John ate Wey was recorded in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1279. The name literally means "dweller by the road (OE weg) or at a place called Atteweye, the name in 1306 of Way in Thorverton (Devon), or at Atway (Devon)." [1]

The same source notes the family could have originated at Waye (Devon, Dorset.) [1]

Early Origins of the Ways family

The surname Ways was first found in Dorset. The aforementioned Hundredorum Rolls also included Thomas de la Weye, Kent. [2]

"The name is found in North Devon, temp. Henry VII.; and in that district the termination way is of frequent occurrence in the names of farms, homesteads, and the like, without any reference to, or connection with, roads. The mullets hauriant [(fish swimming)] in the arms of one family have been supposed to be allusive to the river Wey, co. Dorset, in which mullets are abundant. Ate-Wey is one of the forms in Hundredorum Rolls. It may be an old baptismal designation, as Wege or Weghe is found in Domesday Book as the name of a tenant anterior to the Survey." [3]

Early History of the Ways family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ways research. Another 71 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1407, 1476, 1407, 1430 and 1442 are included under the topic Early Ways History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ways Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Ways has appeared include Way, Waye, Wey, Whey, Weigh, Weghe and others.

Early Notables of the Ways family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: William Wey or Way (1407?-1476), an English traveller and author, born in Devonshire apparently in 1407, was educated at Oxford. In 1430, he became fellow of...
Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ways Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Ways family to Ireland

Some of the Ways 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 Ways migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Ways arrived in North America very early:

Ways Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Johan Jacob Ways, aged 18, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1740 [4]

New Zealand Ways 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:

Ways Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mary Ann Ways, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1863 [5]
  • James Ways, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1863 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Ways (post 1700) +

  • Max Ways, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Maryland, 1912 (speaker) [6]


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 7th November 2010). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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