Willett History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Willett is derived from the diminutive form of the Old English personal name "Will" or "William." Thus, the name refers to a "son of Willet."

Early Origins of the Willett family

The surname Willett was first found in Essex, where the Willett family held a family seat from very ancient times. Records of the name in Essex and the surrounding shires date back to the Middle Ages, during the years immediately following the Norman Conquest.

Early History of the Willett family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Willett research. Another 109 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1736, 1665, 1562, 1621, 1562, 1511, 1598, 1650, 1678, 1633, 1703, 1605 and 1674 are included under the topic Early Willett History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Willett Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Willet, Willett, Willhite, Willot, Willitt, Willets and many more.

Early Notables of the Willett family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Andrew Willet (1562- 1621), an English clergyman and controversialist. Born at Ely in 1562, he was son of Thomas Willet (1511?-1598), who began his career as a public notary, and officiated as such at the consecration of Archbishop Parker. [1] Deborah "Deb" Willet...
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Willett Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Willett migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Willett Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Willett, who landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1632 [2]
  • Ann Willett, aged 23, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [2]
  • Eleanor Willett, who landed in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1635 [2]
  • James Willett, who landed in Virginia in 1636 [2]
  • Peter Willett, who landed in Virginia in 1638 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Willett Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Henry Willett, who arrived in New York in 1803 [2]
  • Samuel Willett, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1821 [2]
  • Joshua Willett, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [2]

Australia Willett migration to Australia +

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

Willett Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Willett, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Agincourt" on July 6, 1844, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [3]
  • Mr. Joseph Willett, (b. 1810), aged 38, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years for perjury, transported aboard the "Bangalore" on 1st January 1850, arriving in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia, he died in 1850 aboard the ship [4]
  • Onias Willett, who arrived in Phillip aboard the ship "Samuel Boddington" in 1850 [5]
  • Alice Willett, aged 18, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "Escort"

New Zealand Willett 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:

Willett Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Charles Willett, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Berar" in 1865

Contemporary Notables of the name Willett (post 1700) +

  • Walter Willett MD DrPH. (b. 1945), American physician and nutrition researcher
  • Private First Class Louis Edward Willett (1945-1967), United States Army soldier who received the Medal of Honor
  • Lt. Kenneth Martin Willett (1919-1942), American naval reserve officer who was awarded the Navy Cross
  • Phyllis Willett, American politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for California, 1972 [6]
  • Lewis E. Willett, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1928 [6]
  • Joseph L. Willett, American politician, Mayor of Haverhill, Massachusetts, 1953 [6]
  • Jason Willett, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Arkansas, 2000, 2004, 2008 [6]
  • James Polk Willett, American Democrat politician, Postmaster at Washington, District of Columbia, 1894-99 [6]
  • Francis Willett, American politician, Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Deputies, 1736, 1737, 1739 [6]
  • Edward S. Willett, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Albany County 1st District, 1848 [6]
  • ... (Another 13 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Dorsetshire
  • Amos Alfred Sidney Willett (d. 1945), British Stoker 1st Class aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [7]


The Willett Motto +

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: Dieu et mon devoir
Motto Translation: God and my work.


  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  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 2014, November 24) Agincourt voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1844 with 226 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/agincourt/1844
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/australasia
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SAMUEL BODDINGTON 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850SamuelBoddington.htm
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 12) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  7. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html


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