Williams (surname)

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Family name
Pronunciation Williams
Meaning derived from Son of William
Region of origin England, Wales, Cornwall
Related names William, Willimon, Williman, Williamson
Footnotes: [1][2]

Williams is a patronymic form of the name William that originated in medieval England[3] and later came to be extremely popular in Wales. The meaning is derived from son or descendant of Williame, the Northern French form that also gave the English name William. Derived from an Old French given name with Germanic elements; will = desire, will; and helm = helmet, protection.[4] It is the second most common surname in Wales and the third most common surname in the whole of the United Kingdom,[5] the third most common in the United States of America and Australia and the fifth most common in New Zealand.[6]

Earliest usage[edit]

The earliest recorded use of the surname;

in the form of Willam is from 1279 in Oxfordshire,[7]
in the form of William is from 1299 in Whitby, Yorkshire,[3]
in the form of Williames is from 1307 in Staffordshire.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ British surnames - origin
  2. ^ 1990 Census Name Files
  3. ^ a b Reaney & Wilson p.493
  4. ^ WILLIAMS - Surname Meaning | Origin for the Surname Williams Genealogy
  5. ^ British surnames
  6. ^ United States Census Bureau (9 May 1995). s:1990 Census Name Files dist.all.last (1-100). Retrieved on 25 February 2008.
  7. ^ Reaney & Wilson p.493, sourced from the Rotuli Hundredorum 1812, 1818
  8. ^ Reaney & Wilson p.493, sourced from the Staffordshire Assize Rolls


  • PH Reaney & RM Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames:The Standard Guide to English Surnames, Oxford University Press, 1995, ISBN 0-19-863146-4.