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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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