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

Origins Available: English, Scottish


The family name Willsey is derived from the ancient Germanic personal name William, which itself comes from the roots will, meaning will or desire, and helm, meaning protection.

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The surname Willsey was first found in Cornwall where they held a family seat at Saltash from very ancient times.

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Wills, Will, Wylls and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Willsey research. Another 153 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 162 and 1620 are included under the topic Early Willsey 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 Willsey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Willsey family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 91 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


In the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Willsey Thomas Wills settled in Maryland in 1633; Bennet Wills settled in Maine in 1627; John Wills settled in St. Christopher in 1634; Thomas and William Wills settled in Virginia in 1654.

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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: Sursum
Motto Translation: Upwards

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Citations



    Other References

    1. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
    2. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
    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. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
    5. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
    6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    7. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
    8. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
    9. 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.
    10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
    11. ...

    The Willsey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Willsey 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 13 February 2013 at 15:56.

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