Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Davis Name
Origins of Name:
The surname of Davis is itself a patronymic surname form of the given name of David. The given personal name of David derives from the Hebrew word “Dodaveha” which can be translated to mean “Beloved of Jehovah.” This given name gained popularity when it was adopted by the greatest of the kings of Israel, and thus became popular among the Jewish population of that area. The Christians later adopted this name because of its biblical connotations, and brought it to the areas of Europe during the Middle Ages. The patronymic form of this surname was created in Europe in the early 14th Century because of the popularity of the given name of David.
More common variations are: Davies, Davise, Daveis, Deavis, Davios, Daivis, Duavis, D’Avis, Davias, Daviss
This surname gained popularity in Wales due to St. David, 6th Century Bishop of Menevia, who became the patron saint of Wales. Thus many people began to name their children David, and the patronymic form “son of David” evolved into the surname Davis.
The surname of Davis became popular in the country of Scotland due to both King David 1, who reigned from the year 1124 to the year 1153, and King David II, who ruled from the year 1329 to the year 1371. Many people began to name their children David after these kings, increasing the possibility for the patronymic surname to be widespread in this country.
The first recorded spelling of the surname of Davis was found in the country of England. One person who was given the name of John Dauisse was named in the Subsidy Rolls of Cambridgeshire in the year 1327. This document was ordered, decreed, and written under the reign of King Edward III, who was known as, and commonly referred to throughout history as “The Father of the Navy” and ruled from the year 1327 to the year 1377. Other mentions of the surname of Davis include Richard Barrett Davis, who lived from the year 1782 to the year 1852, and was the animal painter for William IV. Sir John Francis Davis was the Chief Superintendent of British trade in China, and was appointed the K.C.B. in the year 1854.
United States of America:
During the 1600’s, European settlers began to migrate to the United States of America, which at that time was referred to as The New World, or The Colonies. This movement was referred to as The European Migration, and lasted from the 17th Century to the 19th Century, spanning over four countries. The first person who bore the surname of Davis that was recorded to land on American soil was one Dolor Davis, who arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the year 1634. Shortly after, Isbell Davis arrived in Virginia in the year 1635, and Dorothy Davis followed suit and also landed in the state of Virginia just one year later, in 1636. That same year, Christopher Davis settled in Massachusetts, and Jenkin Davis landed in Lynn, Massachusetts in the year 1637. It was over sixty years for the next person bearing this surname of Davis to arrive in the United States of America. This could be due to poor recording of those who arrived in the country, or could also be due to the poor living conditions on the transport ships. Many people died en route to the United States of America because of the living conditions in the cramped ships.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Davis: United States 1,172,346; England 69,849; Australia 41,221, Canada 32,926; Uganda 24,645; South Africa 21,551; Nigeria 21,244; Jamaica 16,384; Liberia 14,919; Ghana 10,624
Dennis Davis (died in 2016) who was a drummer and session musician from America, who was most notably recognized for his work with David Bowie
Howard Edward Davis Jr. (1956-2015) who was a two-time gold medalist amateur and professional boxer
Richard E. Davis (1926-2015) who was a businessman and child psychiatrist from America, and was the inventor of KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce
Viola Davis (born in 1965) who is an Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee, Primetime Emmy Award winning actress and producer, and was the first African-American woman to be awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Shannon Davis (1969-1988) who was a student from Shelton, Connecticut, who was aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, which is known as the Lockerbie Bombing in 1988, and died in the crash
Mrs. Mary Davis, who was a passenger from Chicago, Illinois aboard the American Airlines Flight 191 and died in the crash on May 25, 1979
Mrs. Pat Davis who was a passenger from Asheville, North Carolina aboard the American Airlines Flight 191 and died in the crash on May 25, 1979
Davis Family Gift Ideas
Browse Davis family gift ideas and products below. If there are multiple coats of arms for this surname, you will see them at the top of this page and can click on the various coat of arms designs to apply them to the gift ideas below.
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Davis Family Crest Corn Hole Game$224.00Purchase »
Davis Family Crest Ping Pong Table$167.59Purchase »
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Blazons & Genealogy Notes
1) (Hollywood, co. Gloucester, bart.). Motto—Utili secernere honestum. The augmentation of the Indian Spear in the crest commemorates an heroic achievement of Sir John Davis's father, the late Samuel Davis, Esq., member of the Board of Revenue in Bengal. In 1799, after the massacre of the Political Resident at Benares, he defended his house for upwards of an hour and a-half, armed with a spear only, and posted in a narrow staircase, single handed, against the treacherous attack of the usurper, Vizier Ali, and his forces, and “thus saved the settlement, by giving time for the cavalry, which were quartered at Beetabur, about ten miles from Benares, to reach Secrole, and oblige Vizier Ali to retire with his followers.” Ar. a chev. nebuly betw. three mullets in chief and another in base pierced sa. Crest—Two Indian pikes in saltire ppr. surmounted by a mullet pierced sa. betw. two wings vair ar. and sa.
2) (Bristol). Gu.a chev. erm. in chief two mounds or, in base a talbot pass, of the last. Crest—Two arms embowed, habited erm. cuffs az. hands ppr. supporting a mound, as in the arms.
3) (co. Kent; allowed June, 1772). Az. a wolf saliant erm. Crest—A wolf pass. erm.
4) (co. Kent). Or, a cross botonnee in saltire betw. four eagles displ. sa.
5) (London and Westminster; granted 1746). Per bend sinister erm. and ermines a lion ramp. reguard. erminois; on a chief az. three mullets of six points ar. Crest—A demi wolf ramp, reguard. and erased az. ducally collared and chained or, holding in the paws a mullet, as in the arms.
6) (co. Salop). Gu. a chev. betw. three boars’ heads couped ar.
7) Per fesse ar. and sa. in chief two towers of the second. Crest—A leopard’s head erased ppr.
8) Gu. a chev. betw. three boars’ heads erased ar. Crest—A boar’s head erased ppr.
9) Sa. a fesse or, betw. three cinquefoils ar. Crest—A lion’s head erased or, ducally crowned gu.
10) Sa. a fesse betw. three cinquefoils pierced erm.
11) Ar. on a bend az. cotised gu. three doves or.
12) Gu. a chev. engr. betw. three boars’ heads erased ar.
13) Az. a fesse erm. betw. three unicorns’ heads erased ar. Crest—Three arrows, two in saltire and one in pale ppr.
14) (co. Hereford). Az. a wolf saliant ar. charged on the breast with a quatrefoil gu. (another, a cinquefoil). Crest—Out of a mural coronet ppr. a demi wolf saliant ar. holding a quatrefoil gu.
15) (Leytonstone, co. Essex). Motto—Decide. Ar. a chev. pean, in base a lion ramp. sa. a chief indented of the last, and a canton ermines. Crest—A demi lion issuant sa. charged on the shoulder with the fasces or, betw. the paws a bomb fired ppr.
16) (originally co. Salop, afterwards Fenton House, Hampstead Heath). Gu. a chev. betw. three boars' heads couped ar. Crest—A fawn couchant.
17) (Kill, co. Kildare; Fun. Ent. of Gerrote Davis, of that place, d. 2 May, 1619, son of John Davis, Esq., of same place). Sa. on a chev. ar. three treloils slipped vert.
18) (Kill, co. Kildare; Fun. Ent. of Lawrence, third son of John Davis, of that place, buried at St. Andeous, 8 April, 1634). Same Arms, a martlet for diff.
19) (Viscount Mount Cashell Sir Paul Davis or Davys, Knt., of St. Katherine's, co. Dublin, and Kill, co. Kildare, was so created in the peerage of Ireland, 1706, extinct 1736). Same Arms. Crest—A dragon’s head erased vert. Supporters—Two leopards guard, cowarded ppr.
20) (Fun. Ent. of Sir William Davis, Lord Chief Justice, King’s Bench, Ireland, d. 24 Sept. 1687). Same Arms, a martlet for diff. Crest—A wyvern’s head erased vert.
21) (Reg. Ireland, to Major Thomas Davis). Sa. a fess or, betw. three cinquefoils ar. on a chief of the second three arrow heads gu. Crest—A cubit dexter arm in armour embowed, the hand holding a battle axe all ppr.
22) (Reg. Ireland). Ar. on a bend gu. betw. two caltraps sa. three cinquefoils or. Crest—A nag's head couped ar. charged on the neck with caltraps sa.
23) (Ireland, borne by Hercules Davis, Esq.). Gu. a chev. betw. three boars' heads couped ar. Crest—A boar ramp. ar.
24) (J. N. C. Atkins Davis, Surgeon-Major Royal Artillery, H.P. Deputy Inspector of Army Hospitals, eldest son of the late James Thomas Davis, Esq., Surgeon Royal Artillery and Acting Deputy-lnspector of Ordnance Hospitals in the Peninsula). Motto—I will. Gu. a chev. ar. in chief three battle axes, in base a human heart, guttee de sang, pierced with a dagger, all of the second. Crest—A dexter mailed arm holding a scimitar ppr.
25) (Sir John Davis, Attorney-General for Ireland, 1606). Sa. a fess erm. betw. three cinquefoils pierced ar.
26) (Reg. in Ireland to Major Thomas Davis, temp. Charles II.) Sa. a fess or, betw. three cinquefoils ar. on a chief of the second three caltraps gu. Crest—An arm in armour embowed, the hand gauntletted holding a battle axe all ppr.