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


The ancestors of the West surname lived among the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. The name comes from when they lived in Devon. The name West is derived from the fact that the original bearer of the name came from the west. This rather general nickname could be an indication that the person moved from the west to where he received the name, or that he lived in the western portion of some area such as a county or parish.

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The surname West was first found in Devon, where the family "are remarkable, not so much for the antiquity of the family as for the early period at which they attained the honour of the peerage. Sir Thomas West is the first recorded ancestor; he died in the seventeenth of Edward II., having married the heiress of Cantilupe, and thus became possessed of the lands in Devonshire, and at Smitterfield in Warwickshire." [1] Another reference states "the noble family (Earl Delawarr) ... wrote themselves De West; not it appears, from any place so called, but from their large possessions in the West of England." [2] Later some of the family held estates at Aughton in the West Riding of Yorkshire. "This place, called in Domesday Book Actone, Hactone, and Hacstone, was formerly the residence of the family of West, of whom was Sir William West, a soldier in the army of Henry VIII., and who had, in reward for his services, beneficial grants of abbey lands: the family resided here till the latter end of the reign of Elizabeth." [3]

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname West include West, Weste and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our West research. Another 335 words (24 lines of text) covering the years 1570, 1365, 1405, 1312, 1386, 1386, 1399, 1401, 1399, 1402, 1642, 1636, 1674, 1660, 1556, 1601, 1590, 1659, 1635, 1637, 1632, 1691, 1670, 1716, 1710 and are included under the topic Early West History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 511 words (36 lines of text) are included under the topic Early West Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the West family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 141 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

West Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Francis West, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1607
  • Francis West settled in Virginia in 1608
  • Anthony West settled in Virginia in 1622 along with Henry, John, Nathaniel
  • Anthony West, who landed in Jamestown, Va in 1624
  • Grace West, who arrived in Virginia in 1636


West Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Dorcas West, who arrived in Virginia in 1701
  • Giles West, who arrived in Virginia in 1719
  • Anne West, who arrived in Virginia in 1719
  • Caspar West, aged 32, landed in Pennsylvania in 1740
  • Charles West, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745


West Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Gobbs West, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1805
  • David West, aged 26, landed in New York in 1812
  • Bartholomew West, aged 25, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Beale West, aged 47, landed in New York in 1812
  • John West, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1852


West Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Robert West was a merchant in St John's Newfoundland in 1794

West Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Benjamin West, who arrived in Canada in 1831
  • Isaac Newton Duzan West, who arrived in Canada in 1833
  • James West, aged 23, a weaver, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the brig "Ugoni" from Belfast

West Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • John West, English convict from Dorset, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • James West, English convict from Buckinghamshire, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • William West, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Andromeda" on October 16, 1826, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Edward West, English convict from Cambridge, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • John West, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila


West Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Joseph West landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Daniel West, aged 16, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgeway" in 1840
  • Catherine West a servant, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Eagle" in 1854
  • Joseph West arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Cresswell" in 1856
  • Felix West arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alma" in 1857


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  • Wilson H. West, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1972
  • William Stanley West (1849-1914), American Democrat politician, Member of Georgia State House of Representatives, 1892-1901; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Georgia, 1908; U.S. Senator from Georgia, 1914
  • William S. West, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Texas, 1928
  • William H. West, American Republican politician, Ohio State Attorney General, 1866-68; Justice of Ohio State Supreme Court, 1872-73; Delegate to Ohio State Constitutional Convention from Logan County, 1873
  • William B. III West, American politician, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, 1958-61
  • William B. West, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for Wisconsin State Assembly from Rock County 1st District, 1902
  • William B. West, American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Dublin, 1863-67
  • William West (1822-1919), American politician, Member of Ohio State Legislature, 1848; Hotelier; Mayor of Ames, Iowa, 1870-71
  • Wayne West, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from North Carolina, 1964
  • Walter E. West, American Republican politician, Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives from Muskegon County 1st District, 1958

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  • A Chart of Some Ancestors of Benjamin Holmes West, 1861-1919 by William J. Harrison.
  • Hill-West, Fisher-Beauchamp and Related Families by Olive M. Fisher.
  • Some Descendants of Anthony West of Accomack, Virginia by Elmer D. West.
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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: Jour de ma vie
Motto Translation: Day of my life, i.e. “Most glorious day of my life.”.

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  1. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  2. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  3. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  4. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  5. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  6. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  7. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  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. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  10. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The West Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The West 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 5 May 2016 at 19:44.

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