Where Did The Surname Willis Come From?


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donna jackson Profile
donna jackson answered
The surname Willis is of Welsh origin and is said to come from "the son of William" There are other spellings of this name which is found on ancient records in England and Wales, mostly in Oxford, Cambridge, Dorset and Worcester and Wales, like ,Wylles, Wylis, Wyllis, Willys and others.
Those bearing this name in London were often yeoman or Gentry with great lands.
The name appeared in America in 1640, with Col. Francis Willis, who settled in Virginia. he was followed by family and friends and the name thrives there to this day in the city of
Fredericksburg, where he was the founder.
Kath Senior Profile
Kath Senior answered
There are two possible explanations for the origin of the surname Willis. The first is that the word will meant stream in middle English and old English and this became 'well' in modern English. Early surnames in records have been found such as Wylle in 1296 in the subsidy rolls of Sussex.

The other explanation is that the surname comes from the first name Will, which is a short version of William. This usage could have lead to the surname Wilson and the surname Willis.

Two other early instances of the surname in records come from the Cambridgeshire Hundred Rolls, which include a Robert Wille from 1279 and a Cecily Willes, also from 1279 in a Wiltshire deed. A Walter Wyllys occurs in Staffordshire subsidy rolls in 1327.

One famous Willis was Francis Willis who was the doctor who treated George III for madness!

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