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


The German state of Prussia, which reached the zenith of its power in the late 19th century, is the glorious birthplace of the distinguished surname Willems. In the medieval era, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the German lands were inhabited by a variety of Barbarian tribes. The borders of the Barbarian kingdoms changed frequently, but the region that became known in Prussia was roughly divided between the areas of Brandenburg-Prussia, West Prussia, and East Prussia. The colorful history of Brandenburg-Prussia, which is essentially the birthplace of modern Germany, provides a glimpse at the oldest origins of the Willems family.

Willems Early Origins



The surname Willems was first found in northern Germany, where the name was associated in early mediaeval times with the feudal society which would become prominent throughout European history. The name would eventually emerge as belonging to a noble family with great influence, having many distinguished branches, and become noted for its involvement in social, economic and political affairs. Its use as a Surname must be traced back to its immense popularity as a first name early in the Middle Ages. Indeed, one chronicle mentions a knight's feast in Bayeux around 1171 A.D. in which alone 117 Wilhelms were listed as taking part.

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Willems Spelling Variations


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Willems Spelling Variations



In the medieval era, many different cultural groups lived in the German states. There are thus many regional variations of German surnames from that era. Westphalians spoke Low German, which is similar to modern Dutch. Many German names carry suffixes that identify where they came from. Others have phrases attached that identify something about the original bearer. Other variations in German names resulted from the fact that medieval scribes worked without the aid of any spelling rules. The spelling variations of the name Willems include Wilhelm, Wilhem, Wilhelmi (Latinized), Wilhelmy, Wilhelmus (Latinized), Wilhelms, Wilhelmsen (Holstein), Wilhalm ( Bavaria, Austria), Wilms (Friesland) and many more.

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Willems Early History


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Willems Early History



This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Willems research. Another 173 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1709, 1845, 1812 and 1864 are included under the topic Early Willems History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Willems Early Notables (pre 1700)


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Willems Early Notables (pre 1700)



Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Willems Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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The Great Migration


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The Great Migration



Since medieval times, the state of Prussia has played an important part in the history of Germany. The state's military powers were historically very strong, and endured until after the Second World War, when the territory was broken up and divided between the Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany and West Germany. A spurt of migration followed, with some Prussians going elsewhere in Europe and many others crossing the ocean to North Ameri ca. Most entered the United States through Philadelphia. Some remained there, while more moved on to the states of Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, New York, and Maryland. Others traveled to Canada and settled Ontario and the prairie provinces. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Willems or a variant listed above:

Willems Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Anna Willems, who arrived in New York in 1642
  • Mechtelt Willems, who arrived in New York, NY in 1642
  • Hendrik Willems, who landed in New Netherland(s) in 1650
  • Geertje Willems, who landed in New Netherland(s) in 1661
  • Woltger Willems, who arrived in Delaware in 1662
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Willems Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Johannes Willems, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1736

Willems Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Derk Willems, aged 47, landed in New York, NY in 1847
  • Berend Willems, aged 48, arrived in New York, NY in 1848
  • Jantje Willems, aged 40, landed in New York, NY in 1848
  • Johan Willems, aged 14, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1875
  • Gerhard Willems, aged 55, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1875
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

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Contemporary Notables of the name Willems (post 1700)


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Contemporary Notables of the name Willems (post 1700)



  • Mo Willems (b. 1968), American writer, animator, and children's books author/illustrator
  • Paul F. Willems, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Wisconsin 8th District, 1984, 1986; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Wisconsin, 2000
  • Lulu G. E. Willems, American Democrat politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Steuben County, 1944
  • Frank John Willems (1919-2000), American politician, Member of Arkansas State House of Representatives, 1973-99
  • Chad Willems, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Arizona, 2008
  • Jennifer Willems (1947-2015), Dutch actress, known for her roles in Naked Over the Fence (1974) and Keetje Tippel (1975)
  • Daniel Willems (b. 1956), Belgian former road bicycle racer
  • Henri P. Willems (b. 1899), Belgian bobsledder
  • Pierre Willems (1840-1898), Dutch philologist and historian of Ancient Rome
  • Rein Willems (b. 1945), President of Shell Nederland from 2003-2007
  • ... (Another 12 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

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Willems Family Crest Products


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Willems Family Crest Products




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See Also


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See Also




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Citations


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Citations



    Other References

    1. Steed, Henry Wickham . The Hapsburg Monarchy. London: Constable and Company, 1919. Print.
    2. Fogleman, Aaron Spencer. Journeys German Immigration, Settlement and Political Culture in Colonial America 1717-1775. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986. Print. (ISBN 978-0812215489).
    3. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
    4. Bahlow, Hans. Deutschlands geographische Namenwelt Etymologisches Lexikon der Fluss- und Ortsnamen alteuropaischer Herkunft. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1985. Print.
    5. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
    6. Strassburger, Ralph B. Pennsylvania German Pioneers The Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia 3 Volumes. Baltimore: Picton Press, 1992. Print. (ISBN 978-0929539980).
    7. Fogleman, Aaron Spencer. Hopeful Journeys German Immigration, Settlement, and Political Culture in Colonial America 1717-1775. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986. Print. (ISBN 978-0812215489).
    8. Haverkamp, Alfred. Medieval Germany 1056-1273 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print.
    9. Gottschald, Max. Deutsche Namenkunde unsere Familiennamen nach ihrer Entstehung und Bedeutung. München: J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1932. Print.
    10. Preuss, Otto. Die Lippischen Familiennamen mit Berücksichtigung der Ortsnamen. Detmold: Meyer'sche Hofbuchh, 1887. Print.
    11. ...

    The Willems Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Willems 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 12 January 2016 at 13:32.

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