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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Scottish


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The surname Willis was first found in Berwickshire an ancient county of Scotland, presently part of the Scottish Borders Council Area, located in the eastern part of the Borders Region of Scotland. The earliest Scottish bearers of this name are likely descended from Will the Crowner Gunn. Although the name has also long existed in England where they are believed to be descended from Baron Welles, the Duke of Somerset, a Norman Baron from Welles in Normandy who was granted Rockingham Castle.

Spelling variations of this family name include: Willis, Wilis and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Willis research. Another 308 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1214, 1435, 1577, 1581, and 1625 are included under the topic Early Willis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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

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Some of the Willis family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 93 words (7 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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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Willis Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Anne Willis settled in Virginia in 1620
  • Ann Willis, who arrived in Virginia in 1620
  • Ann Willis, who landed in Virginia in 1620
  • Nathaniel Willis settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1630
  • Nathaniel Willis, who settled in Boston in 1630
  • ...

Willis Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Jacob Willis, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1702
  • Matthew Willis, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Ellioner Willis, who arrived in Virginia in 1717
  • Pheebe Willis, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1772

Willis Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Mary Ann Willis, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • Margaret Willis, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • James Willis, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812
  • Eleanor Willis, who landed in New York, NY in 1816
  • Ellen Willis, aged 18, landed in Mobile, Ala in 1820-1873
  • ...

Willis Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • William Willis settled in Quidividi, Newfoundland, in 1703
  • John Willis, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Penolope Willis, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Josiah Willis settled in Kiers Cove, Labrador, in 1766

Willis Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Isaac Willis, who arrived in Canada in 1834

Willis Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • George Willis, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Adamant" on March 16, 1821, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Thomas Willis, English convict from Southampton, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • George Willis arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Buckinghamshire" in 1839
  • Elizabeth Rebecca Willis arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Buckinghamshire" in 1839
  • Frances Willis arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Buckinghamshire" in 1839
  • ...

Willis Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Richard Willis landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1842
  • Thomas Willis arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wyvern" in 1856
  • Thomas Willis arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "William Watson" in 1859
  • A. Willis arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Black Eagle" in 1861
  • Robert Willis arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Beauty" in 1863
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  • Robert "Chick" Willis (1934-2013), American blues singer and guitarist
  • Pharmacist's Mate First Class John Harlan Willis (1921-1945), American Navy sailor awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1945
  • Harold "Chuck" Willis (1928-1958), American blues, rhythm and blues, and rock singer and songwriter
  • Elizabeth Willis (b. 1961), American poet, a literary critic and a professor of literature and creative writing
  • Walter Bruce Willis (b. 1955), American two-time Emmy Award-winning, Golden Globe Award-winning and four-time Saturn Award-nominated actor and film producer perhaps best known for his "Die Hard" series of movies
  • Hal Willis (1933-2015), born Leonald Francis Gauthier, Canadian country singer from Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, bets known for his single "The Lumberjack," an international hit that sold over 1.5 million copies, inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010
  • Major Richard Raymond Willis VC (1876-1966), English recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Constance Elaine Trimmer Willis (b. 1945), American science fiction writer with ten Hugo Awards and six Nebula Awards
  • Bailey Willis (1857-1949), American geological engineer
  • Norman David Willis (b. 1933), English trade union leader
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Willis Historic Events



Empress of Ireland

  • Mr. George Oswald Willis, British Smokeroom Steward from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914

HMAS Sydney II

  • Mr. Percy John Christian Willis (1900-1941), Australian Plumber 1st Class from St. Peters, New South Wales, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking
  • Mr. Lloyd Martin Willis (1922-1941), Australian Cook from Five Dock, New South Wales, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking
  • Mr. George Boyd Willis (1908-1941), Australian Able Seaman from Naremburn, New South Wales, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking
  • Mr. Ronald Verdun Willis (1916-1941), Australian Steward from Manly, Queensland, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II on the 19th November 1941 and died during the sinking

HMS Hood

  • Mr. Herbert Willis (b. 1922), English Marine serving for the Royal Marine from Mortenhempstead, Devon, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
  • Mr. Albert T Willis (b. 1919), English Stoker 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Lowestoft, Suffolk, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking

HMS Prince of Wales

  • Mr. William E Willis, British Stoker, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking

RMS Titanic

  • Mr. William Willis (d. 1912), aged 66, English Third Class Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
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  • The Family History of Nathaniel Purdue Willis of Eason, Oklahoma Territory by Kathryn S. Carter.
  • Some Willis Families of New England by Aurie Willis Morrison.
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Citations



    Other References

    1. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
    2. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
    3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    4. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
    5. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
    6. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
    7. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
    8. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
    9. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
    10. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    11. ...

    The Willis Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Willis 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 2 January 2016 at 00:33.

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