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


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The surname Wemyss was first found in Fife, where they held a family seat from very ancient times as Lords of the Castle of Wemyss, so named from the Gaelic word Uamch (a cave) derived from the lands and cliffs in which caves abound on the seashore.

Spelling variations of this family name include: Wemyss, Weems, Wemys, Wemes and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wemyss research. Another 375 words (27 lines of text) covering the years 1251, 1286, 1484, 1605, 1608, 1609, 1617, 1596, 1617, 1669, 1625, 1672, 1579, 1636, 1608, 1649, 1610, 1679, 1659, 1705, 1678, 1720, 1657 and 1682 are included under the topic Early Wemyss History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 189 words (14 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wemyss Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Wemyss family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 53 words (4 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 settlers of this family name were:

Wemyss Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • James Wemyss, who landed in America in 1784

Wemyss Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Fredrick John Wemyss landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • John Wemyss, aged 41, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Chile" in 1874
  • Catherine Wemyss, aged 47, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Chile" in 1874
  • David Wemyss, aged 9, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Chile" in 1874
  • Catherine Wemyss, aged 7, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Chile" in 1874


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  • David Wemyss (1721-1787), 6th Earl of Wemyss
  • Jean Margaret Wemyss (1926-1987), original name of Margaret Laurence, the Canadian novelist
  • Kathy Wemyss, Australian musician


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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: Je pense
Motto Translation: I Think.

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  1. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  2. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  3. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  4. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  5. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  6. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  7. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  8. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  10. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  11. ...

The Wemyss Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Wemyss 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 20 July 2015 at 11:28.

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