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William Family History

William Name Meaning

English (of Norman origin): from the Middle English personal name William Willam Willem an Old Picard and Norman French form of ancient Germanic Willihelm composed of the elements wil- ‘will desire’ + helm- ‘helmet protection’. This Norman personal name became widely used in England Scotland and Wales after the Conquest mainly no doubt in honor of the Conqueror himself. By the 13th century it had already become the most popular personal name in England. A Parisian form of the name Guillaume was also sometimes used (see Gillam ) which in medieval Wales was adopted as Gwilym (see Gwilliam ). Americanized form (translation into English) of French Guillaume .

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press


Similar surnames: Hillian, Gilliam, Gwilliam, Willing, Willits, Illian, Wildman

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Where is the William family from?

You can see how William families moved over time by selecting different census years. The William family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most William families were found in United Kingdom in 1891. In 1911 there were 1,327 William families living in Ontario. This was about 37% of all the recorded William's in Canada. Ontario had the highest population of William families in 1911.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the William surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your William ancestors do for a living?

In 1921, Farmer and Housekeeper were the top reported jobs for men and women in the Canada named William. 24% of William men worked as a Farmer and 14% of William women worked as a Housekeeper. Some less common occupations for Americans named William were Fisherman and Bookkeeper. .

View Census Data for William | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations In 1921

  • Farmer
    24%
  • Labourer
    10%
  • Laborer
    9%
  • Fisherman
    4%

Top Female Occupations In 1921

  • Housekeeper
    14%
  • Clerk
    13%
  • Student
    8%
  • Bookkeeper
    7%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What William family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 753,000 census records available for the last name William. Like a window into their day-to-day life, William census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search Canadian census records for William

Passenger Lists

There are 70,000 immigration records available for the last name William. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Canada, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

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Draft Cards

There are 114,000 military records available for the last name William. For the veterans among your William ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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You've only scratched the surface of William family history

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What is the average William lifespan?

Between 1943 and 2004, in the United States, William life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1944, and highest in 1964. The average life expectancy for William in 1943 was 35, and 63 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for William

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