Whillbirn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The name Whillbirn reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Whillbirn family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Whillbirn family lived in Lincolnshire. Their name is derived from the Old English word welle, meaning well, and the Old Norse word brunnr, meaning stream or spring, and indicates that the original bearer lived near a well by a stream or spring. 
The Domesday Book of 1086 has three listings: Welborne (Walebruna), Norfolk; Welbourne (Wellebrune), Lincolnshire; and Welburn (Wellebrune), North Yorkshire. 
Early Origins of the Whillbirn family
The surname Whillbirn was first found in Lincolnshire where they were Lords of the manor of Welbourn and conjecturally descended from a Norman noble, Robert Malet, who was granted the church and mill by King William the Conqueror in 1066. The ancestry of Robert goes back to Graville near Havre in Normandy in 990, where he was descended from Algar, the seventh Earl of Mercia. 
Early rolls gave a glimpse at the various spellings in use over the years: Walebrun was recorded in Lincolnshire c. 1155; Robert Walebrun was registered in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1296; and John Walebron was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1327.  The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had one entry for the family, that of Hugh de Welleburn, Lincolnshire. 
Early History of the Whillbirn family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Whillbirn research. Another 42 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1605, 1929, 1640, 1702, 1699, 1702 and 1697 are included under the topic Early Whillbirn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Whillbirn Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Welborne, Welborn, Welbourne, Welburn and others.
Early Notables of the Whillbirn family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Thomas Welbourne (Welbourn) (executed at York, 1 August 1605), an English Roman Catholic teacher, Catholic martyr, beatified in 1929. Thomas Wellborn (also: Welbourn, Welbourne, Wellbourne), (1640-1702), served as Captain in the King's Militia, and...
Another 41 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Whillbirn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Whillbirn family
Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Whillbirn name or one of its variants: Sam, Mathew, and Robert Welbourne settled in Virginia in 1652.
- Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
- Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
- The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
- Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)