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Surname Willard - Meaning and Origin

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A Voyage to My Past: Deciphering the Willard Lineage with iGENEA DNA Test

Venturing into the world of genetic testing with iGENEA, I embarked on an educative journey, exploring the roots of my surname, Willard. iGENEA's comprehensive DNA test, with its detailed report on maternal and paternal lineage, revealed the captivating history of the Willards dating back to the medieval times.

P. Willard

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Willard: What does the surname Willard mean?

The last name Willard is of English origin, derived from the personal name Willard, which is a medieval form of the name William. The name William is derived from an old Germanic name composed from the elements “wil” meaning “will” or “desire” and “hard” meaning “brave” or “hardy.” The name consequently means "resolute protector".

The first record of the personal name Willard dates from 1208, when a Willard de Bosco appeared in the Hampshire Court Rolls. The Willard family traces their roots to the Ancient Briton Celtic Kingdom of Cornwall, England. The original family seat of the Willard family was at a place called Willard, near Wadebridge, Cornwall, from where the principal branch of the family hailed.

The surname Willard is common throughout England and the English-speaking world, where it is borne by many people of different ethnic origins. It is also common in Ireland, where it has long been associated with the powerful Maguire Clan of Fermanagh.

The earliest recorded spelling of the family name is likely Willardus, which was dated 1208, in the Hampshire Court Rolls. Variations of the name form as Wilard, Wylard, Willerd, Wyrd and Wyllyard were all found in the 14th century Rolls of the County of Essex and other records.

Though the precise meaning of the name Willard has been argued over the centuries, it is generally agreed that it denotes the characteristics of resolute protector, bravery, and hardiness; an appropriate reflection of the many focused, determined and hardy Willards now known throughout English-speaking countries.

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Willard: Where does the name Willard come from?

The last name Willard is commonly found in the United States today. According to the US Census, the surname is most common in the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Ohio. The name is also found in parts of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Willard is an English surname of Norman origin. It is derived from the name Willard, which is a combination of the words "will" and "hard". The surname is thought to have been given to a person who was strong-willed and brave in battle.

The surname was first found in Essex, where the Willard family was established back in the 12th century. Over the centuries the family branched from Essex to other parts of the UK, as well as to the US. The Willard name was among the earliest arrivals to the American colonies, with William and Mary Willard arriving in 1639 and settling in Massachusetts. The surname has been used by a number of people who have gone on to become prominent figures in American history.

Today, the surname is still largely centered in the United States. It is found in all manner of places, from towns in rural New England, to suburbs outside of cities. The surname is now a part of American history, and the people with this last name have helped shape the nation into what it is today.

Variations of the surname Willard

The surname Willard has a number of variants, spellings and surnames of the same origin. These variants and their spellings include Willerton, Wollerton, Wellwerten, Wellewerten, Wellwerthen, Wilharn, Willaward, Willwerth, Wiluforth, Williford, Wilford, Wilfert, Wilwerd, Wilword, Willert, Wellard, and Wilferth.

The origin of the surname Willard is of English and Germanic origin, and derives from the personal name "Wilheard". The name is composed of the elements "wil" meaning ‘desire’, and ‘heard’, meaning ‘brave/hardy’. In the medieval period the surname was associated with a family estate in the area of Chichester, Sussex.

The surname Willard is also found as Williamard, Wilmerding, Willmerding, Wilmarth, Wilered and Willared. These variants commonly appeared when a person with the surname Willard moved to another country and the spelling was adapted to the language of the new country.

The occurrence of the surname Willard is primarily found in England and the United States. The variant Wilfert is found primarily in Germany. Willard variations can also be found in Scotland, Ireland, France, Canada, and other countries throughout the world.

Famous people with the name Willard

  • Fred Willard: stage, film, and television actor whose career has spanned over sixty years
  • Crispin Glover: actor and director
  • Paul Willard: former basketball player
  • Brad Willard: former professional basketball player
  • Jonathan Willard: former NFL linebacker
  • Candice Willard: founder and CEO of Spark Therapeutics
  • Charles Willard: U.S. Navy admiral
  • Warren Willard: former college basketball coach
  • Christine Willard: reality television personality
  • Rocky Willard: former NFL safety
  • Bruce Willard: former NFL defensive back
  • Frank Willard: American comic strip writer and cartoonist
  • Angela Willard: artist and illustrator
  • Terrell Willard: former NFL linebacker
  • Chris Willard: former NBA player

Other surnames

WillamWillamette Valley GS non-membersWillametteValleyGS membersWillandWillanderWillandsenWillandtWillansWillauer

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