Willey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The first people to use the name Willey were a family of Strathclyde- Britons who lived in the Scottish/English Borderlands. The name comes from when someone lived in Dumfries where today more often than not, the name is typically spelt either Wylie or Wyllie. [1]

Early Origins of the Willey family

The surname Willey was first found in Dumfriesshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Dhùn Phris), where the first on record was Donald Wyly, tenant of Thornhill, Dumfriesshire, 1376. Later, John Wili held a land in Montrose, 1431, and Robert Wylye was vicar of Kilcoldrum, 1434. William Wyly, was a witness in Prestwick, Ayrshire, 1446, Robert Wyly, was a charter witness in Glasgow, 1454, and Richard Wyly, was vicar of Dundee in 1458. [1]

Early History of the Willey family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Willey research. Another 218 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1509, 1529, 1530, 1550, 1563, 1575, 1653, 1659, 1680, 1590, 1645, 1642, 1643 and are included under the topic Early Willey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Willey Spelling Variations

Surnames that evolved in Scotland in the Middle Ages often appear under many spelling variations. These are due to the practice of spelling according to sound in the era before dictionaries had standardized the English language. Willey has appeared as Wiley, Wylie, Whyley, Wyley, Wilie, Wyllie and others.

Early Notables of the Willey family (pre 1700)

Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Willey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Willey Ranking

In the United States, the name Willey is the 2,357th most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. [2]

Ireland Migration of the Willey family to Ireland

Some of the Willey family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 74 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Willey migration to the United States +

The North American colonies beckoned, with their ample land and opportunity as their freedom from the persecution suffered by so many Clan families back home. Many Scots even fought against England in the American War of Independence to gain this freedom. Recently, clan societies have allowed the ancestors of these brave Scottish settlers to rediscover their familial roots. Among them:

Willey Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Allen Willey, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1633 [3]
  • Robert Willey, who arrived in Virginia in 1638 [3]
  • Edward Willey, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1686 [3]
Willey Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Willey, who arrived in South Carolina in 1772 [3]
  • Peter Willey, who landed in South Carolina in 1772 [3]
Willey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Willey, who landed in New York in 1822 [3]
  • Mr. Edward Willey, (b. 1819), aged 23, Cornish miner departing from Falmouth aboard the ship "Orient" arriving in the United States on 19 May 1842 [4]
  • J Willey, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [3]
  • C B Willey, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [3]
  • E W Willey, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Willey Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Cameron L. Willey, who landed in America, in 1905
  • Chester Willey, aged 53, who landed in America, in 1907
  • Clara Willey, aged 30, who immigrated to America from Plymouth, England, in 1908
  • C. E. Willey, aged 54, who settled in America, in 1908
  • Charles Henry Willey, aged 21, who immigrated to the United States from Bradford, England, in 1909
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Willey migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Willey Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William Willey, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749

Australia Willey migration to Australia +

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

Willey Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Willey, British Convict who was convicted in Essex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 27th October 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [5]
  • George Willey, English convict from Northumberland, who was transported aboard the "America" on April 4, 1829, settling in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Elizabeth Willey, aged 18, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Emily" [7]
  • Elizabeth Willey, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Emily" in 1849 [7]
  • Samuel Willey, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Mary Ann" in 1849 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Willey 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:

Willey Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Noah Willey, (b. 1855), aged 19, English settler from Somerset travelling from London aboard the ship "Sussex" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 17th July 1874 [9]
  • William Willey, aged 21, a gardener, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "India" in 1875
  • George Willey, aged 23, a farm labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1876
  • F. Willey, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "British King" in 1883
  • Miss Mary L. Willey, (b. 1838), aged 48, Cornish domestic servant departing on 18th December 1886 aboard the ship "Ruapehu" going to Invercargill, New Zealand arriving in port in 1887 [10]

Contemporary Notables of the name Willey (post 1700) +

  • Gordon Willey (1913-2002), American archaeologist
  • Carlton Francis Willey (1931-2009), American former professional baseball player
  • Calvin Willey (1776-1858), American politician
  • Alan Willey (b. 1956), American soccer player inducted to the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2003
  • N B Willey (1838-1921), American politician
  • Chauncey M. Willey, American politician, Mayor of Barre, Vermont, 1953-54 [11]
  • Calvin Willey (1776-1858), American Democratic Party politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Tolland, 1820-21; Member of Connecticut State Senate at-large, 1823-24; U.S. Senator from Connecticut, 1825-31 [11]
  • Asa Willey, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Ellington, 1820, 1822, 1825-26, 1828-29, 1834, 1836-37 [11]
  • Arthur C. Willey, American Republican politician, Candidate for New Hampshire State House of Representatives from Newmarket, 1938 [11]
  • Agnes K. Willey, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Massachusetts, 1924 [11]
  • ... (Another 32 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. James H Willey, British Leading Signalman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [12]
  • Mr. Ernest Willey, British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [12]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Leslie Frederick J Willey, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [13]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mrs. Catherine E. Willey, American 1st Class Passenger from Lake Forest, Illinois, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [14]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Edward Willey (d. 1912), aged 18, English Third Class passenger from Market Drayton, Shropshire who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [15]


The Willey 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: Fides
Motto Translation: Faith.


Suggested Readings for the name Willey +

  • Some Descendants of Waitman Willey by Helen McBroom Mayo.
  • A Sketch of the Destruction of the Willey Family by the White Mountain Slide by Edward Melcher.
  • Willey, Core, Bennett, and Other Ancestors by Leroy Ellis Willie.

  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to New York 1820 - 1891 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_new_york_1820_1891.pdf
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  6. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 26) America voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1829 with 176 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/america/1829
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The EMILY 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Emily.htm
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The MARY ANN 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849MaryAnn.htm
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to other ports, 1872 - 84 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/new_zealand_assisted.pdf
  11. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 12) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  12. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  13. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  14. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  15. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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