Williams (surname)

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Language(s)English, Norman
Meaningderived from Son of William
Region of originEngland, Wales, Cornwall, France
Other names
Variant form(s)William, Willimon, Williman, Williamson, Wilhelm
Frequency Comparisons[1]

Williams is a patronymic form of the name William that originated in medieval England and Wales.[2] The meaning is derived from son or descendant of William, 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.[3] It is the second most common surname in New Zealand; third most common in Wales and the United States and fourth most common in Australia.[1][4]

Earliest usage[edit]

The earliest recorded use of the surname;

in the form of Willam is from 1279 in Oxfordshire,[5]
in the form of William is from 1299 in Whitby, Yorkshire,[2]
in the form of Williames is from 1307 in Staffordshire.[6]

See also[edit]


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