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

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

The vast movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought the Wilkins family name to the British Isles. Wilkins comes from the Norman personal name William, which is derived from the words will, meaning resolution and helm, meaning armed.


Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Wilkins, Wilkin, Wilkines, Wilkyn, Wilking and others.

First found in Glamorganshire where they held a family seat from early times. They were descended from Robert de Wintona, one of twelve knights who came into Glamorgan with Robert Fitzhamon, a Norman noble, in 1066. Fitzhamon was Sheriff of Kent and founder of Tewkesbury.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wilkins research. Another 237 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1558, 1614, 1672, 1668, 1625, 1626, 1699 and 1618 are included under the topic Early Wilkins History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 159 words(11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wilkins Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Wilkins or a variant listed above:

Wilkins Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Roger Wilkins, who arrived in America in 1620
  • Giles Wilkins, who arrived in Virginia in 1622
  • Goodwife Wilkins settled in Virginia in 1623 along with John
  • Bray Wilkins, who arrived in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Humfrey Wilkins, aged 19, arrived in Virginia in 1635

Wilkins Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Robert Wilkins, who landed in Virginia in 1723
  • Thomas Wilkins, aged 43, arrived in New England in 1774
  • Thomas Wilkins settled with his wife Temperance, in Boston in 1774 with six children
  • Joseph Wilkins, aged 14, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1775
  • Arnold Wilkins, who landed in New York, NY in 1797

Wilkins Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Alexander Wilkins, who arrived in Maryland in 1824
  • Edmund Wilkins, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1836
  • James F Wilkins, aged 37, arrived in St Louis, Missouri in 1846
  • B F Wilkins, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • E Wilkins, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1855

Wilkins Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Susanna Wilkins, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1822
  • Robert Wilkins, aged 50, arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Condor" in 1838
  • Jane Wilkins, aged 40, arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Condor" in 1838
  • Alice Wilkins, aged 14, arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Condor" in 1838
  • Robert Wilkins, aged 10, arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Condor" in 1838

Wilkins Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • George Wilkins, English convict from Somerset, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • James Wilkins, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on October 22nd, 1824, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Walter Symes Wilkins, English convict from Dorset, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on February 22, 1834, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • Mary Wilkins arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Emma" in 1836
  • William Wilkins arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Emma" in 1836

Wilkins Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • John Wilkins landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • John Wilkins, aged 37, a gardener, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arab" in 1841
  • Grace Wilkins, aged 38, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arab" in 1841
  • Matthew Wilkins, aged 17, a labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arab" in 1841
  • Hannah Wilkins, aged 15, a labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Arab" in 1841


  • Major Raymond H. Wilkins (1917-1943), American officer awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1943
  • Roy Wilkins (1901-1981), Civil rights activist and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • David Horton Wilkins (b. 1946), American attorney and a former U. S. Ambassador to Canada (2005-2009)
  • Gina Ferris Wilkins (b. 1954), American best-selling author of over 85 romance novels
  • Jesse Ernest Wilkins Jr. (1923-2011), African American nuclear scientist and mathematician
  • Jesse Ernest Wilkins Sr. (1894-1959), African American lawyer, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor (19541958)
  • Katherine Caroline "Kitty" Wilkins (1857-1936), American horse breeder, known as the "Horse Queen of Idaho"
  • Louis Gary Wilkins (1882-1950), American bronze medalist pole vaulter at the 1904 Summer Olympics
  • Professor Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins (1916-2004), New Zealand-born English biophysicist, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1962)
  • John Wilkins (1614-1672), English churchman



  • Pioneers and Patriots: A History of the John Wilkins and Some Related Families of Virginia by James Richard Wilkins.

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: Estote prudentes
Motto Translation: Be ye prudent.


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  1. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  2. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  4. 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.
  5. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  6. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  7. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  8. 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.
  9. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  10. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  11. ...

The Wilkins Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Wilkins 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 18 January 2015 at 23:04.

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