Wilkes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Wilkes is an ancient Anglo-Saxon name that is derived from a medieval given name, a short form of William. [1]

Wilkes is a patronymic surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Many patronyms were formed when a son used his father's personal name as a surname, while others came from the personal names of famous religious and secular figures. In this case, the surname was originally derived from the popular medieval surname William, which became even more popular after the Norman Conquest of England, in 1066, led by William the Conqueror.

Early Origins of the Wilkes family

The surname Wilkes was first found in Bedfordshire (Old English: Bedanfordscir), located in Southeast-central England, formerly part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, before and after the Norman Conquest in 1066.

Early History of the Wilkes family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wilkes research. Another 73 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1545, 1598, 1545, 1556, 1548, 1553, 1529, 1535, 1551, 1564, 1600, 1570, 1580, 1641, 1665, 1732, 1691, 1760, 1690, 1666 and 1740 are included under the topic Early Wilkes History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wilkes Spelling Variations

Wilkes has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Many variations of the name Wilkes have been found, including Wilkes, Wilke, Wilks and others.

Early Notables of the Wilkes family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Israel Wilkes, a 17th century citizen and distiller of London, father of the politician John Wilkes. Sir Thomas Wilkes (1545?-1598), was an English diplomatist, born about 1545, and is said to have been a native of Sussex. "The Oxford registers do not supply his father's name, and the family occurs in many counties and in many forms, such as Wikes, Wylkes, Weekes, Wyckes, and other variations. A Richard Wilkes (d. 1556) was master of Christ's College, Cambridge, from 1548 to 1553; a Thomas Wilkes represented Chippenham in the Reformation parliament of 1529-1535, and another...
Another 176 words (13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wilkes Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Wilkes migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Wilkess to arrive on North American shores:

Wilkes Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Wilkes, who settled in Virginia in 1653
  • Thomas Wilkes, who arrived in Virginia in 1653 [2]
  • William Wilkes who arrived in Virginia in 1654
  • John Wilkes, who landed in Maryland in 1664 [2]
  • William Wilkes, who landed in Maryland in 1675 [2]
Wilkes Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Eliza Wilkes, who landed in Virginia in 1702 [2]
  • Henry Wilkes, who arrived in Virginia in 1703 [2]
  • Joseph Wilkes, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [2]
  • Rudolph Wilkes, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1727 [2]
  • Elizabeth Wilkes, who settled in New England in 1745
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Wilkes Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Bartholomew Wilkes, aged 27, who arrived in New York in 1834 [2]
  • Gerh Wilkes, who landed in America in 1843 [2]
  • George Samuel Wilkes, who arrived in New York in 1857 [2]
  • Louis Edward Potter Wilkes, who arrived in Colorado in 1885 [2]

Australia Wilkes migration to Australia +

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

Wilkes Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Richard Wilkes, English convict from Worcester, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [3]
  • Miss. Mary Ann Wilkes, British Convict who was convicted in Birmingham, West Midlands, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 9th March 1847, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [4]
  • Phillip Wilkes, aged 37, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Victoria Regia"

New Zealand Wilkes 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:

Wilkes Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • George Wilkes, aged 28, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • Mary Wilkes, aged 23, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • John Wilkes, aged 2, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • Elizabeth Wilkes, aged 25, a domestic servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • Ann Wilkes, aged 21, a domestic servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Wilkes (post 1700) +

  • Charles Wilkes (1798-1877), American naval officer, known for The United States Exploring Expedition, commonly known as the "Wilkes Expedition"
  • John Wilkes (1727-1797), English politician, declared an outlaw in absentia, but that charge was later overturned, eponym of Wilkes County, Georgia and Wilkes County, North Carolina [5]
  • William Harry Walters Wilkes (1865-1940), English cricketer
  • Sir Maurice Vincent Wilkes FRS, FREng, DFBCS (1913-2010), English computer scientist, Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Royal Society
  • Jonathan Wilkes (b. 1978), English television presenter, actor and musician
  • Mr. Peter Gerald Wilkes B.E.M., British recipient of Medallist of the British Empire Medal 29th December 2018 for services to Tennis [6]
  • Frank Noel Wilkes AM (1922-2015), Australian politician, Leader of the Labor Opposition in Victoria from 1977 to 1981
  • Colonel Mark Wilkes FRS (1759-1831), Manx soldier and administrator, Chairman and Speaker of the House of Keys, Isle of Man
  • Debbi Wilkes (b. 1946), Canadian gold, and three-time bronze medalist former pair skater
  • Benjamin Wilkes (b. 1749), English artist and naturalist

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. Charles Wilkes (1892-1914), Canadian Third Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [7]
Halifax Explosion
  • Miss Harriet Evelyn  Wilkes (1916-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the explosion but later died due to injuries [8]
RMS Lusitania
  • Miss Alice Kate Wilkes, English 3rd Class passenger residing in Chicago, Illinois, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [9]
RMS Titanic
  • Mrs. Ellen Wilkes, aged 47, English Third Class passenger from Penzance, Cornwall who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived in the sinking in life boat 16 [10]


Suggested Readings for the name Wilkes +

  • 1719 Wilks and Young Families, Texas Pioneers by Doris Ross Brock Johnston.

  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 155 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/arab/1822
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th February 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1847
  5. ^ Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 31 Jan. 2019
  6. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, www.thegazette.co.uk/honours-lists
  7. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  8. ^ 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
  9. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  10. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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