The family name Wilsey is derived from the ancient Germanic personal name
William, which itself comes from the roots will, meaning will or desire, and helm, meaning protection.
Early Origins of the Wilsey family
The surname Wilsey was first found in Cornwall
where they held a family seat
at Saltash from very ancient times.
Early History of the Wilsey family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wilsey research.Another 153 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 162 and 1620 are included under the topic Early Wilsey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Wilsey Spelling Variations
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.
Early Notables of the Wilsey family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Wilsey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Wilsey family to Ireland
Some of the Wilsey 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.
Migration of the Wilsey family to the New World and Oceana
Some of the first settlers of this family name were:
Wilsey Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
- Mr. Lawrence Wilsey U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 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
Contemporary Notables of the name Wilsey (post 1700)
- Wilbert Jay Wilsey (1896-1961), American film actor who appeared in nearly 100 films between 1924 and 1944, some with John Wayne
- Diane Buchanan "Dede" Wilsey (b. 1944), born Diane Dow Buchanan, American socialite and philanthropist in San Francisco, widow of businessman Al Wilsey
- Sean Wilsey (b. 1970), American author, best known for his memoir Oh the Glory of It All (2005)
- James Calvin Wilsey (b. 1957), American bass player with the punk band The Avengers
- Major-General John Harold Owen Wilsey CB CBE DSO (1904-1961), British Army officer, General Officer Commanding the 2nd Division (1954-1956)
- General Sir John Finlay Willasey Wilsey GCB CBE DL (b. 1939), British Army officer, former Commander-in-Chief, UK Land Forces
The Wilsey 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 Translation: Upwards