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DAVIS Family History


According to the 2010 United States Census survey, 'Davis' was the 8th most frequently reported surname, accounting for 1,116,357 of the population, preceding Rodriguez and following Miller in frequency. It is also semi-common amongst Ashkenazi Jews in Anglophone countries. This surname is also found in Ireland. Davies is a common Welsh variant.


The surname comes from the Middle English personal name Davy itself from an Old French form of David, with a genitival 's'.   It is sometimes Ashkenazic Jewish in Britain and the USA; it is also sometimes a variant of Irish McDevitt.

It is from the Hebrew name (Dawid), which was derived from Hebrew (dod) probably meaning "beloved".  David was the second of the kings of Israel, ruling in the 10th century BC.

In 1881 the surname was frequent across southern England, from Kent to Somerset.  The most numerous bearers were in London and Gloucestershire.  To take the example of a county adjacent to London, Kent, the bearers numbered 2, 626 in the 1881 Census. 

John Davis (1550-1665) the explorer and navigator who discovered the Falkland Islands, was born in Dorset. John Davis a convict from Kent,  was transported to Australia aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820. 

Several Davis emigrants from England were recorded as colonists in Virginia and Massachusetts in the 17th Century.

The name is also a variant of the Welsh surname Davies, which has a similar etymology.  This is particularly the case with bearers in the English counties close to Wales, for example Lancashire and Staffordshire where Davis significantly numerous.

The name occurs as a sept name of the Scottish clan Davidson, and as such is present in Northern Ireland.



1881, 1890 Census

The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain & Ireland, eds Hanks, Coates, McClure, OUP 2016

Dictionary of American Family Names, Hanks P., OUP 2003, 2013

Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890

Dictionary of English & Welsh Surnames, C.E.W. Bardsley, London, 1876

Passenger and immigration lists index ...,  Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K.Detroit, 1985





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Anthony Barrett

(Part 1 of 3) The Davis name is found in the British Isles, but one of its origins according to DNA is from the north-west coast of the Emerald Island. One Davis story [dominated by DNA tribal marker R1b-L513, Subgroup A1] can trace their origins to the Finn Valley in Donegal, Ireland from 50 BCE. Perhaps the journey begins with the Clanna Dedad; Deda, son of Sen or Deda Mac Sin. This Davis surname origin is from a Northern Ui Neill [R1b-L513] tribe. The Cenél Eoghan and the tribes of Donegal conquered much of Ulster (Derry and Tyrone).

Anthony Barrett

(Part 2 of 3) Cenél Eoghan will expand across northern Ireland with their cousins Cenél Conaill and the Northern Ui Neill between 500-800 BCE. The clans of Finn Valley have the same DNA as people from Gwened in Brittany. But how could this be? Recent discoveries from DNA testing are unlocking the migration patterns of Celtic tribes as late as 800 CE to 1200 CE. The Davis story begins in pre-history Ireland then moves to Scotland as they form part of the Dalriada. Descendants of their tribe will then travel to Brittany, France during the Dark Ages.

Anthony Barrett

(Part 3 of 3) Discover their newly found untold story and how forgotten texts bring their story back to life. From the ebook, “The Tribe Within” learn how DNA unfolds this amazing tale and if you look in the right places, how history narrates this evidence. There is another written account of their story, but it is camouflaged in smoke and myth – it will become the tales of King Arthur. Come follow in the footsteps of Deda Mac Sin and visit

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