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Origins of the Williams surname

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What does the name Williams mean?

The surname Williams is a patronymic name, given usually to the 'son of William' (also Wilhelm, or Guillaume). Although with no single family to trace this name back to, Williams is thought to originate in both England and Wales, and is the second most common surname in New Zealand, third in both Wales and the United States, and fourth in Australia.

Alternative variations of the name Williams

Williams, William, Gilliam, Guilliam, Willyams

I’ve managed to trace back to the mid-1500s! I can’t believe it! Utterly engrossing and I have uncovered some quite moving and heartbreaking stories attached to various ancestors. You don’t need any qualifications to start - just time patience, and some information.

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Delve deeper into the Williams family's history

Where do most Williamses live?

In 1921, most Williamses lived in South West.

Census records trace your ancestors through each generation, so you can follow where your relatives lived through each decade.

Interesting facts about Williamses

How common is your surname?

3rd most common surname in the UK

We have 2,210,000 records for the Williams surname. The oldest one dates back to .

Who were Williamses most likely to marry?




Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Williamses.

What are the most common Williams first names?

  • John
  • William
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

Our birth record sets tell us the names of Williams family members

Common jobs for Williamses

Men and women often performed different types of jobs, so these are displayed by gender to maintain their historical accuracy.

Common Female occupations for Williamses in 1921


Domestic Servant


General Servant Domestic


House Servant


General Servant


Common Male occupations for Williamses in 1921
Coal Miner




Coal Miner Hewer


General Labourer


Agricultural Labourer


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Census records provide incredible detail on names, ages, marital statuses, occupations and more.

We found over 1,400,000 family trees with the Williams surname

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