Willi History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
Of all the French names to come from Normandy, Willi is one of the most ancient. The name is a result of the original family having lived at a place in Normandy, called Ouilly-le-Basset in the arrondissement and canton of Falaise in Calvados. The name is adapted from the French word "oeil," meaning "eye," which was used metaphorically to refer to the source of a spring or fountain. 
Early Origins of the Willi family
The surname Willi was first found in Normandy (French: Normandie), the former Duchy of Normandy, where this distinguished family held a family seat in the honor of the seigneurie of Ouilly-le-Basset in the arrondissement and canton of Falaise in Calvados.
Of this family Robert D'Ouilli, the son of Foque D'Aulnay, who was descended from D'Alnay, the first Duke of the Normans of Loire 895-905, joined Duke William of Normandy in the Conquest of England in 1066 A.D. He is referred to by Wace, the chronicler of the Battle of Hastings, as "E cil d'Ouillie," and received the castle of Wallingford in 1067 and possessed sixty-one manors with forty-two habitable houses in the county of Oxford of which he was the Constable.
Wallingford was an ancient Roman castle and Robert D'Ouillie, at the command of William the Conqueror, rebuilt the castle in the Norman style, an impregnable edifice which would play a most significant part in history. He gave much of his estates to Roger D'Ivri, his sworn brother in Arms. This Robert also ceded to Roger his Barony of St. Valery.
René Ouellet, born in 1642, son of François and Elisabeth (née Barre), was one of the first people found in Canada with the name Ouellet. René first married Anne Rivet on 8th March 1666 and he later married Thérèse Mignot on 6th February 1679. Throughout his two marriages René had six sons that carried on the family name of Ouellet. René was buried on 15th January 1722 in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière, Quebec. 
Early History of the Willi family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Willi research. Another 46 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1066 and 1067 are included under the topic Early Willi History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Willi Spelling Variations
One can encounter great variation in the spelling of French surnames; in part, as spelling, and the spelling names was not yet standardized during the early development of the written French language. Later, there was much branching and movement of families, and spellings would change according to region. Variations of the name Willi include Oueilly, Oueilly, Ouilly, Ouele, Oueillade, Willet, Willett, Williot, Wille, Willette, Willi, Oulette, Ouellet, Oullett, Wellett, Oullette and many more.
Early Notables of the Willi family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Willi Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Willi family
Approximately 110 years after the first landings by Cartier, there were only about 300 people in Quebec. France gave land incentives for 2,000 migrants during the next decade. Early marriage was desperately encouraged amongst the immigrants. The fur trade attracted migrants, both noble and commoner. 15,000 explorers left Montreal in the late 17th and 18th centuries. By 1675, there were 7000 French in Quebec. Migration to New France (Quebec) continued from France until it fell in 1759. In the year 1675 the Acadian presence in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had reached 500. In 1755, 10,000 French Acadians refused to take an oath of allegiance to England and were deported to Louisiana. The French founded Lower Canada, thus becoming one of the two great founding nations of Canada. The distinguished family name Willi has made significant contributions to the culture, arts, sciences and religion of France and New France. Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Willi were Grégoire Ouellet, who settled at Riv. Ouelle, Canada in 1696; Alexandre Ouellet, who settled in Canada in 1781; Alexis Ouellet, who settled at Riv. Ouelle, Quebec in 1784.
Contemporary Notables of the name Willi (post 1700) +
- Willi Holdorf (1940-2020), West German athlete who in 1964, won the first Olympic medal for Germany in decathlon
- Willi Plett (b. 1955), Canadian retired professional ice hockey right winger who played 834 games in the National Hockey League
- Willi Reschke (1922-2017), German Luftwaffe ace, recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross during World War II, credited with 26 aerial victories in 70 missions
- Willi Esslinger (1916-1944), German Hauptscharführer in the Waffen SS during World War II who was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
- Willi Meurer (1915-1981), German cyclist at the 1936 Summer Olympics
- Willi Fuggerer (1941-2015), German bronze medalist track cyclist a the 1964 Summer Olympics
- Willi Landgraf (b. 1968), retired German footballer
- Willi Forst (1903-1980), born Wilhelm Anton Frohs, an Austrian actor, screenwriter, film director, film producer and singer
- Willi Sänger (1894-1944), German Communist and resistance fighter who was executed
- Willi Neuberger (b. 1946), German former professional football defender, active 1966 to 1983
Related Stories +
- ^ Dauzat, Albert, Morlet, Marie-Thérèse, Dictionaire Étymologique des Noms et Prénoms de France. Paris: Librairie Larousse, 1987. Print.
- ^ Olivier, Reginald L. Your Ancient Canadian Family Ties. Logan: The Everton Publishers, Inc., P.O. Box 368, 1972. Print