West History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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. [1] [2] [3]

Early Origins of the West family

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., [(during the seventeenth year of the reign of Edward II)] having married the heiress of Cantilupe, and thus became possessed of the lands in Devonshire, and at Smitterfield in Warwickshire." [4]

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." [5]

Early English rolls provide us a glimpse of the spelling variations used through Medieval times. Today we typically need to look beyond the spellings of these entries and concentrate on on a phonetic appreciation of the names. Maurice de West in Colchester, Essex in 1152-1170; Goche West, in the Pipe Rolls for Norfolk in 1197; William del West in Essex in 1262; and Robert Westen de Copford in Colchester, Essex in the 13th century. [1]

Early History of the West family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our West research. Another 168 words (12 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 and printed products wherever possible.

West Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the West family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Thomas West, 1st Baron West (1365-1405), only son of Sir Thomas West, of de Hampton Cantilupe (1312-1386), served alongside his father under Richard II; one of them was in active service in Calais in 1386, A knight banneret, he served in Ireland with the Duke of Aumale in 1399, and attended Richard's young Queen Isabella homeward to Calais in 1401, When Thomas was seventeen, he and his mother and sister Eleanor were assaulted and robbed, by Nicholas Clifton, who carried his sister off, he was probably the same Nicholas Clifton who later married her, knighted...
Another 161 words (12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early West Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

West World Ranking

In the United States, the name West is the 109th most popular surname with an estimated 198,960 people with that name. [6] However, in Canada, the name West is ranked the 382nd most popular surname with an estimated 12,152 people with that name. [7] And in Newfoundland, Canada, the name West is the 462nd popular surname with an estimated 102 people with that name. [8] France ranks West as 6,413rd with 1,000 - 1,500 people. [9] Australia ranks West as 131st with 20,547 people. [10] New Zealand ranks West as 142nd with 3,459 people. [11] The United Kingdom ranks West as 120th with 40,934 people. [12]

Ireland Migration of the West family to Ireland

Some of the West family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 77 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States West migration to the United States +

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 [13]
  • Francis West, who settled in Virginia in 1608
  • Anthony West, who settled in Virginia in 1622 along with Henry, John, Nathaniel
  • Anthony West, who landed in Jamestown, Va in 1624 [13]
  • Grace West, who arrived in Virginia in 1636 [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
West Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Dorcas West, who arrived in Virginia in 1701 [13]
  • Giles West, who arrived in Virginia in 1719 [13]
  • Anne West, who arrived in Virginia in 1719 [13]
  • Caspar West, aged 32, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1740 [13]
  • Charles West, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1745 [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
West Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Gobbs West, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1805 [13]
  • David West, aged 26, who landed in New York in 1812 [13]
  • Bartholomew West, aged 25, who arrived in New York in 1812 [13]
  • Beale West, aged 47, who landed in New York in 1812 [13]
  • John West, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1852 [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada West migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

West Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. James West U.E. who settled in Bell Vue, Beaver Harbor, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 was a passenger aboard "Cyrus" on August 21, 1783 from New York to Saint John River [14]
  • Mr. William West U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 he became a Freeman in 1785 was a Butcher [14]
  • Robert West was a merchant in St John's Newfoundland in 1794 [15]
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, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the brig "Ugoni" from Belfast, Ireland

Australia West migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

West Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John West, (Hoiles), British Convict who was convicted in Sussex, England for life, transported aboard the "Earl Cornwallis" in August 1800, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [16]
  • Mr. Thomas West, (b. 1773), aged 27, English miller who was convicted in Sussex, England for life for stealing, transported aboard the "Earl Cornwallis" in August 1800, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1858 [16]
  • Miss Hannah West, British Convict who was convicted in Worcester, Worcestershire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Experiment" on 4th December 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [17]
  • Mr. Joseph West, British Convict who was convicted in Worcester, Worcestershire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 4th December 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [17]
  • John West, English convict from Dorset, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia [18]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand West 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:

West Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Joseph West, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Daniel West, aged 16, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgeway" in 1840
  • Mr. Daniel West, (b. 1824), aged 16, British agricultural labourer travelling from England aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 14th November 1840 [19]
  • Mr. West, Australian settler travelling from Sydney aboard the ship "Earl of Lonsdale" arriving in Bay of Islands, North Island, New Zealand on 11th April 1841 [19]
  • Mr. William West, British settler referred to as the Parkhurst Boys travelling from London aboard the ship "Mandarin" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 14th November 1843, he had been taught trades and pardoned to live in New Zealand [19]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies West migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [20]
West Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Nathaniel West, (b. 1620), aged 15, British settler travelling aboard the ship "The Dorset" arriving in Barbados in September 1635 [21]

Contemporary Notables of the name West (post 1700) +

  • Tommy West (1942-2021), born Thomas Picardo, an American record producer and singer-songwriter
  • Pheoris West (1950-2021), African-American artist and Associate Professor Emeritus Ohio State University College of the Arts
  • Leslie West (1945-2020), born Leslie Weinstein, an American rock guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter, founding member and co-lead vocalist of the hard rock band Mountain
  • Togo Dennis West Jr. (1942-2018), American attorney and politician, 3rd United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs (1998-2000), United States Secretary of the Army (1993-1998), General Counsel of the Navy (1977-1979)
  • John Anthony West (1932-2018), American Emmy Award winning author, lecturer, guide and a proponent of the Sphinx water erosion hypothesis in geology; the 1993 NBC special presented by Charlton Heston called “The Mystery of the Sphinx” won him the Emmy Award
  • Robert Gene "Red" West (1936-2017), American actor, film stuntman and songwriter, a close confidant and songwriter for rock and roll singer Elvis Presley
  • Adam West (1928-2017), born William West Anderson, American actor, best known for his role as Batman, the television series (1966 to 1968)
  • Charles P. West (1921-2015), American carpenter, farmer and politician who served in the Delaware House of Representatives from 1977 to 2003
  • Mary Jane "Mae" West (1893-1980), American actress, playwright, screenwriter and sex symbol whose career spanned seven decades
  • First Sergeant Chester Howard West (1888-1935), soldier in the United States Army who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during World War I
  • ... (Another 205 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Arrow Air Flight 1285
  • Mr. Thomas Edward West (b. 1946), Arkansas, USA, American Sergeant 1st Class from Clarksville, Tennessee, USA who died in the crash [22]
Bradford City stadium fire
  • William James West (1907-1985), from North Hykeham, Lincolnshirewho attended the Bradford City and Lincoln City Third Division match on 11th May 1985 when the Bradford City stadium fire occurred and he died in the fire
Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. James  West, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [23]
  • Mrs. Levi  West (1889-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [23]
  • Mr. William  West, Scottish stationed aboard the SS Curaca from Anderson, Scotland, United Kingdom who died in the explosion [23]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Robert W West (b. 1901), English Chief Engine Room Artificer serving for the Royal Navy from Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [24]
  • Mr. Alfred P West (b. 1914), English Petty Officer Cook (S) serving for the Royal Navy from Birchington-on-Sea, Kent, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [24]
HMS Royal Oak
  • David West (1907-1939), British Seaman with the Royal Navy Reserve aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [25]
Lady of the Lake
  • Mr. Henry West (b. 1820), Irish labourer from Fintonia, Ireland who sailed aboard the "Lady of the Lake" from Greenock, Scotland on 8th April 1833 to Quebec, Canada when the ship hit ice and sunk of the coast of Newfoundland on the 11th May 1833 and he died in the sinking
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Edwy Arthur West (d. 1912), aged 36, English Second Class passenger from Bournemouth, Dorset who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [26]
  • Mrs. Ada Mary West, (née Worth), aged 33, English Second Class passenger from Bournemouth, Dorset who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 10 [26]
  • Miss Constance Mirium West, aged 4, English Second Class passenger from Bournemouth, Dorset who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 10 [26]
  • Miss Barbara Joyce West, aged 10 mths, English Second Class passenger from Bournemouth, Dorset who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 10 [26]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Mark A. West, American Chief Machinist's Mate working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he survived the sinking [27]
  • Mr. Broadus Franklin West, American Seaman First Class from South Carolina, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [27]
  • Mr. Webster Paul West, American Seaman First Class from Arkansas, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [27]


The West Motto +

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.”.


Suggested Readings for the name West +

  • 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.

  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  4. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  7. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  8. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  9. ^ http://www.journaldesfemmes.com/nom-de-famille/nom/
  10. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  11. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  12. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  13. ^ 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)
  14. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  15. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  16. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 13th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-cornwallis
  17. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 22nd March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel-and-experiment
  18. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Ann voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1809 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/ann/1809
  19. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  20. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  21. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 29th September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  22. ^ American War Memorials - Flight 1285. (Retrieved 2016, August 24) . Retrieved from http://www.uswarmemorials.org/html/monument_details.php?SiteID=317&MemID=550
  23. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  24. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  25. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  26. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
  27. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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