Willemse History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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 Willemse. 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 Willemse family.

Early Origins of the Willemse family

The surname Willemse 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.

Early History of the Willemse family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Willemse research. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1709, 1845, 1812 and 1864 are included under the topic Early Willemse History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Willemse Spelling Variations

One can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames: in early times, spelling in general, and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized; and later, spellings would change with branching and movement of families. Variations of the name Willemse include Wilhelm, Wilhem, Wilhelmi (Latinized), Wilhelmy, Wilhelmus (Latinized), Wilhelms, Wilhelmsen (Holstein), Wilhalm ( Bavaria, Austria), Wilms (Friesland) and many more.

Early Notables of the Willemse family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Willemse Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Willemse migration to the United States +

Much of German history has been shaped by the state of Prussia. It was an enduring military power until after the Second World War. At that time, the state was abolished altogether and its land divided between the Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany and West Germany. While some Prussians were content to remain in those countries, others moved away, many of them migrating to North America. They entered the United States mostly through Philadelphia, moving on to Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, New York, and Maryland. Others went to Canada, settling on the prairies and in the province of Ontario. Among those of this surname listed in various historical records were:

Willemse Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Willem Willemse, who arrived in New York in 1657 [1]
  • Johannis Willemse, who landed in New York in 1662 [1]
  • Maes Willemse, who arrived in New Netherland(s) in 1664 [1]
  • Amoldus Willemse, who arrived in New York in 1664 [1]
  • Hendrick Willemse, who landed in New York in 1687 [1]
Willemse Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Adriaan Willemse, who landed in New York in 1709 [1]
Willemse Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Janneche Willemse, aged 46, who arrived in New York, NY in 1848 [1]
  • Elias Willemse, who landed in Iowa in 1855 [1]
  • Gerritje Willemse, who arrived in Iowa in 1855 [1]
  • Sygie Willemse, who landed in Iowa in 1855 [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name Willemse (post 1700) +

  • Stanley B. Willemse (b. 1924), English former footballer
  • Laura Eveline Gales- Willemse (b. 1962), former Dutch Olympic field hockey defender
  • Ashwin Willemse (b. 1981), South African rugby union player


  1. ^ 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)


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