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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the Scottish Wemyss family come from? What is the Scottish Wemyss family crest and coat of arms? When did the Wemyss family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Wemyss family history?

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

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.


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


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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. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  2. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  3. 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.
  4. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  5. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  6. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  7. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. 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.
  9. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  10. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  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 9 September 2013 at 17:47.

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