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Origins Available: German, Welsh


The Welsh name Williams is a patronymic surname derived from the personal name William, which is in turn derived from the Old German names Willihelm and Willelm (the Norman French version was Guillaume). Following the Norman Conquest of 1066, William became the most popular personal name in Britain for a time.

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The surname Williams was first found in Breconshire and Monmouthshire on the English/ Welsh border, where they are traditionally believed to be descended from Brychan Brecheiniog who was Lord of Brecknock at the time of King Arthur of the Round Table. The mediaeval seat of the ancestors of the Williams family was at Llangibby Castle in County Monmouth. More recently, the family is descended through Rhys Goch, the red haired Lord Ystradyw from Caradog Vreichvras. One of the first records of the name was listed as Robertus filius Willelmi [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
which was listed in the Domesday Book. [2]CITATION[CLOSE]
Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
Other early records include Richard Williams who was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1279 and John Wylyam who was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296.

Welsh surnames are relatively few in number, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. There are many factors that explain the preponderance of Welsh variants, but the earliest is found during the Middle Ages when Welsh surnames came into use. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, which often resulted in a single person's name being inconsistently recorded over his lifetime. The transliteration of Welsh names into English also accounts for many of the spelling variations: the unique Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh had many sounds the English language was incapable of accurately reproducing. It was also common for members of a same surname to change their names slightly, in order to signify a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations. For all of these reasons, the many spelling variations of particular Welsh names are very important. The surname Williams has occasionally been spelled Williams, Quilliams, Guilliam, Guilliams and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Williams research. Another 267 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1500, 1846, 1739, 1604, 1683, 1636, 1635, 1666, 1660, 1661, 1641, 1656, 1679, 1623, 1692, 1668, 1696, 1689, 1696, 1688, 1696, 1621, 1712, 1675, 1679 and are included under the topic Early Williams History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Roger Williams (c.1604-1683), English-born, American clergyman, founder of the colony of Providence Plantation in 1636; Sir Henry Williams, 2nd Baronet ( c. 1635-1666), a Welsh politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1660 to 1661; John Williams, Archbishop of York...

Another 90 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Williams Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Williams family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 161 words (12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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The Welsh migration to North America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries contributed greatly to its rapid development. These migrants were in search of land, work, and freedom. Those Welsh families that survived the long ocean journey were critical to the development of new industries and factories, and to the quick settlement of land. They also added to an ever-growing rich cultural heritage. A search of the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Williams:

Williams Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • David Williams and Elizabeth Williams, who both settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Edward Williams settled in Virginia in 1624
  • Richard Williams, who came to Maine in 1630
  • Anto Williams, aged 14, arrived in St Christopher in 1635
  • Davie Williams, aged 17, arrived in Barbados in 1635
  • ...

Williams Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Agnes Williams, who arrived in Virginia in 1717
  • Elizabeth Williams, who arrived in Carolina in 1724
  • Alexander Williams, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746
  • Alice Williams, who immigrated to Maryland in 1749
  • Elijah Williams, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1795

Williams Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Timothy Williams, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • John Williams, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812
  • Albert Williams, aged 24, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1814
  • George Williams, who came to Boston in 1822
  • Caroline Williams, who arrived in New York, NY in 1826
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Williams Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Deborah Williams, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Catherine Williams, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1757
  • Mr. Abraham Williams U.E. (b. 1766) who settled in Shelburne, Nova Scotia c. 1783 married to Ann (Nancy) having 13 children, he died in 1846 [3]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  • Mr. John Williams U.E. who settled in Shelburne, Nova Scotia c. 1783 married to Sarah having 4 children, he died in 1792 [3]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  • Mr. John Williams U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [3]CITATION[CLOSE]
    Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  • ...

Williams Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • John Williams, aged 22, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Augusta" from Liverpool, England
  • Paul Williams, aged 50, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Elizabeth" from Galway, Ireland
  • John Williams, aged 22, a farmer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Lady Douglas" from New Ross
  • James Williams, aged 25, a farmer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "William" in 1834
  • Jearry Williams, aged 21, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "William" in 1834
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Williams Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Robert Williams, English convict from Shropshire, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Samuel Williams, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • John Williams, Welsh convict from Brecon, Wales, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • Thomas Williams, English convict from Chester, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • Isaac Williams, English convict from Bristol, who was transported aboard the "Adamant" on March 16, 1821, settling in New South Wales, Australia
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Williams Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • J Williams landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1829
  • P Williams landed in New Zealand in 1829
  • Henry Williams landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1832
  • A Williams landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1836
  • Samuel Williams landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1840
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  • Robert "Bob" Allen Williams (1930-2016), former American NFL football quarterback for the Chicago Bears (1951-1952) and 1955, inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame
  • Willie L. Williams (1943-2016), American police commissioner, former chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (1992-1997)
  • Captain (USN, Ret.) Donald Edward Williams (1942-2016), American naval officer and aviator, test pilot, mechanical engineer and NASA astronaut with over 287 hours in space
  • Kim Edwin Williams (1947-2016), American songwriter who was named ASCAP's Country Songwriter of the Year in 1994 and won the Country Music Association's Song of the Year in 2003
  • Walter Allen Williams (1943-2016), American Major League Baseball player and coach
  • John "Hot Rod" Williams (1962-2015), American professional NBA basketball player who played from 1985 to 1999
  • J. Von Williams, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Minnesota, 1944
  • Charles Edwards "Chuck" Williams (1915-2015), American business executive and author, founder of Williams-Sonoma
  • James Elmo Williams (1913-2015), American Academy Award winning film and television editor, producer, director and executive, best known for his award winning work on High Noon (1952)
  • Charles Kenneth " C. K." Williams (1936-2015), American poet, critic and translator, awarded the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
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Williams Historic Events



Empress of Ireland

  • Mr. David Williams, British Cook from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking on May 29th 1914
  • Mr. William Williams, British Greaser from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking on May 29th 1914
  • Mr. William Williams, British Lamp Trimmer from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914
  • Mr. Arthur Clement Williams, British Saloon Steward from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking on May 29th 1914
  • Mr. Roger Williams (1884-1914), English 2nd Officer from Maryport, Cumberland, England, United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914
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Halifax Explosion

  • Master George A.  Williams (1909-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Miss Margaret Doris  Williams (1910-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Master Joseph  Williams (1910-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Master James  Williams (1912-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
  • Mr. James  Williams (1873-1917), Welsh Master aboard the SS Picton from Cardiganshire, Wales, United Kingdom who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917
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HMAS Sydney II

  • Mr. John Bruce Williams (1920-1941), Australian Stoker 2nd Class from Ascot Vale, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking
  • Mr. John Harris Williams (1920-1941), Australian Stoker 2nd Class from South Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking
  • Mr. Alfred David Williams (1918-1941), Australian Able Seaman from Speers Point, New South Wales, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking
  • Mr. David Leslie Williams (1916-1941), Australian Acting Petty Officer from Fairfield, New South Wales, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking

HMS Hood

  • Mr. Roderick G Williams (b. 1922), English Midshipman serving for the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve from Westminster, London, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
  • Mr. Tom G J Williams (b. 1921), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Portsea, Portsmouth, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
  • Mr. Roland M Williams (b. 1909), Welsh Writer serving for the Royal Navy from Llangefni, Anglesey, Wales, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
  • Mr. Lloyd Williams (b. 1918), English Electrical Artificer 4th Class serving for the Royal Navy from Southsea, Portsmouth, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
  • Mr. Leonard J Williams (b. 1922), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Birmingham, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
  • ...

HMS Prince of Wales

  • Mr. Willie J Williams, English Able Seaman from Armthorpe, Doncaster, England, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • Mr. William George Henry Williams, British Leading Stoker from Bolton, Lancashire, England, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died during the sinking
  • Mr. William Charles Williams, British Assistant Steward, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died during the sinking
  • Mr. Stanley Williams (1924-1942), English Marine from England, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking, was later killed in action in 1942
  • Mr. Robert Williams, British Able Seaman, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died during the sinking
  • ...

HMS Repulse

  • Mr. Frank Williams, British Boatswain, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Jack Williams, British Stoker 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Alfred Williams, British Leading Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died during the sinking
  • Mr. Williams, British Boatswain, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Sidney Williams, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
  • ...

Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie)

  • Brittany Leigh Williams (1988-1988), American Passenger from Crown Point, New York, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died
  • Stephanie Leigh Williams (1987-1988), American Passenger from Crown Point, New York, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died
  • Bonnie Leigh Williams (1967-1988), American Military from Crown Point, New York, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died
  • Eric Jon Williams (1964-1988), American Army Sergeant from Crown Point, New York, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died
  • George Waterson Williams (1964-1988), American Army First Lieutenant from Joppa, Maryland, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died

RMS Lusitania

  • Mr. Harold Williams, English Second Waiter from Shire Hall, Chester, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Mr. John Williams, English Third Waiter from Bootle, Lancashire, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Mr. Sydney Williams, English Trimmer from Birkenhead, Cheshire, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Mr. William H. Williams, English 1st Class Cabin Bed Steward from Bootle, Lancashire, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Robert Neptune Williams, English First Waiter from Egremont, Cheshire, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • ...

RMS Titanic

  • Mr. Walter J. Williams, aged 28, English Second Class Saloon Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking by escaping in life boat 13
  • Mr. Samuel S. Williams (d. 1912), aged 26, English Trimmer from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Mr. Howard Hugh "Harry" Williams (d. 1912), aged 28, English Third Class passenger from Guernsey, Channel Islands who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Mr. Leslie Williams (d. 1912), aged 28, Welsh Third Class passenger from Tonypandy, Glamorgan who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett
  • Mr. Charles Eugene Williams, aged 23, English Second Class passenger from Harrow, London who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 14
  • ...
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  • The Ancestors and Descendants of Ebenezer and Martha Porter Williams of Painesville, Ohio by Percy Williams Lewis.
  • The Ancestor; The World of William Williams by John Francis Williams.
  • Diamonds in the Desert: The Family History of Bill and Gertie Williams by Billie William Yost.
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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: Ensuivant la verite
Motto Translation: By following the truth.

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Citations



  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X

Other References

  1. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  2. Rowlands, John, John Rowlands and Sheila Rowlands. Welsh Family History: A Guide to Research. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1999. Print. (ISBN 080631620).
  3. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  4. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  5. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  6. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  7. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  8. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  10. Bradsley C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print.
  11. ...

The Williams Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Williams 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 31 August 2016 at 13:37.

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