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Family spelling variants includes William, Wiliams, Willems, Willams

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WILLIAMS Family History

The Williams surname has several spelling variations, including William, Willems and Williamson, and it has English, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh origins. With an 's' added at the end it takes on a patronymic meaning, namely 'son of William'. In Scotland the longer, related variant, Williamson, is particularly popular.

Ultimately, it has Germanic roots and was introduced to the UK around the time of the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name of four English kings, it derives from the personal name "Wilhelm" composed of the elements 'wil', meaning 'of strong mind', and 'helm', translated literally as helmet in this context it means 'protection'. In 1881, The Williams family name was found in the UK, USA and Canada.

In Wales it derives from the personal name William and sometimes from the Welsh version, Gwilym, and is a patronymic surname meaning the son of William (or 'ap Gwilym' in Welsh). It developed into a hereditary or settled surname – Williams – between the 16th and 19th centuries, depending on where in Wales the family lived. 

In 1881 the Williams population in the UK was 213,957. The surname was most widespread across Wales and the west of England – 25,890 in the county of Glamorgan and 17,547 registered across the 71 districts within the Welsh county of Caernarfonshire. The Williams population in Lancashire was 18,213 and in Cornwall it was 6,800. In the south of England, in Kent, there were 3,669 Williams entries on the 1881, while the county recorded an early reference to the name – a Thomas Williams who lived in Sandwich in 1539. Williams was less commonly found in the county of Gloucestershire, with Bristol area having only 539 bearers.

The most common occupation for Williams men in the UK in 1881 was farmer, followed by coal miner, labourer and agricultural labourer.


1881, 1891 Census The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016.

1881 Census in Bristol All Sts, Gloucestershire and Kent

Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003

Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890

1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain



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My Mother' was a Williams before she married my father. My 3x Great Grandfather Joseph Williams b.abt.1810 Ireland- d. abt. 1894 USA. He had Immigrated from Ireland with his 4 brothers. NOTE:5 Williams brothers from Ireland "Nebraska Bound" abt. 1830ish


My 2nd great grandparents came from Ireland to the USA. do not know when/what port they immigrated to or when/where they were married, but the first census I find them in is as Thomas Williams and Mrs. 1860 Leavenworth Kansas. The Mrs. is Mary Fling b. 1825, 1830 or 1835 varies on census' and Thomas Williams either 1830 or 1834. First son was James born in 1855 Bloomington, Ill, Daughter Winifred b. 1857 and Charles Arthur my great grandfather 1858. The census' list them both as from Ireland, until 1930 my great grandfather lists his parents as from Northern Ireland. The only thing I know about Thomas Williams comes from the 1860 Federal Census taken in Leavenworth Kansas and the 1865 State Census taken in Leavenworth Kansas, I never find him again after that date. I have not located his immigration information or marrige information. Coincidentally there is a Thomas Williams and Anne Eliza Fling Williams in 1860 Bloomington, Illnois Census, they have a son Charles Edward, but dates and ages Do Not match and can't be in two places at one time. would love to learn where they were both from in Ireland.

Anthony Barrett

The Williams name has a long history in Wales, but now DNA and some recorded history says their origin is from the Emerald Island. The Williams story [dominated by DNA tribal marker R1b-L513, Subgroup B2] can trace their origins to the Finn Valley in Donegal, Ireland from 50 BCE. Perhaps the journey begins with the Clanna Dedad; Deda, son of Sen or Deda Mac Sin. The Williams surname origin is from Clan Domnaill [DNA Tribe R1b-L513, Subgroup B1] and relations who remain in Ireland take the modern surname (O’)Donnelly, McDonald and Donohue in Ireland. The Domnaill name is also found in Brittany, France according to research from the Centre de Recherche Bretonne et Celtique. It is a very old name which appears in the 5th century Roman in


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