Origin of the Name Willis
The origin of the name Willis
was found in the allfamilycrests.com archives.
Over the centuries Surnames developed a wide number of variants. Different spellings of the same name can be traced back to an original root. Additionally when a bearer of a name emigrated it was not uncommon that their original name would be incorrectly transcribed in the record books at their new location. Surnames were also often altered over the years based on how they sounded phonetically and depending on the prevailing political conditions it may have been advantageous to change a name from one language to another.
Variants of the name Willis
include Wilis, Wills, Wyllis, Wylis, Williss, Wiles and many others. These names are all derived from the name William that is frequently found in England but is of ancient German origin. The name is composed of the elements 'wil' and 'helm', meaning 'will or 'desire and 'protector'. As a first name and as a surname William increased greatly in popularity after the William the Conqueror invasion of England in the year 1066. A very early bearer of the name was Robertus filius Willelmi who was recorded in the 'Domesday Book' of 1086. A Johannes Willeson and Adam Wylis were recorded in the Poll Tax records of Yorkshire in the year 1379. A Doctor Francis Willis (1718-1807), was recorded in the 'Dictionary of National Biography' and was the physician who attended to King George III in the year 1788, who at that time was suffering from attacks of madness.
In Ireland this name and its variants were introduced into Ulster Province by settlers who arrived from England and Scotland, especially during the seventeenth century. It was the 'Plantations of Ireland' in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that marked the end of Gaelic supremacy in Ireland. While the influx of settlers in the wake of the earlier Anglo-Norman invasion of the twelfth century resulted in a full integration into Irish society of the new arrivals, the same never occurred with the Ulster Planters who maintained their own distinct identity.
The Willis coat of arms came into existence centuries ago. The process of creating coats of arms (also often called family crests) began in the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this. The new art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own coat of arms, including all Willis descendants.