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Welcome to the Willis DNA Project! 

We maintain a database of DNA profiles for men whose last name is Willis. The purpose is to aid in family research. All Willises are welcome to participate.  Members' names are confidential. Our database is an approved project of Family Tree DNA, Inc., the world's leading DNA testing company for genealogy.

Earliest known Willis-surname ancestors of our project participants are listed below. If you are a man whose surname is Willis, a DNA test may show that you are related to one of these men.

Abner Willis of Pennsylvania was born between 1745 and 1755 in Cumberland/York/Lancaster counties and died in 1804. He was a blacksmith and a member of the Silver Spring Presbyterian Church. (10917)       

Abner Willis of Southwest Virginia was married in Wythe County, Virginia, in 1804 to Eve Sifers. He owned property in Saltville Gap. Sometime between 1810 and 1820, Abner moved to Russell County, Virginia. Known sons of Abner are Isaac, Amos, and Richard J. (Southwest VA and Kentucky Group/15233, 64544, and 203117)

Abraham Willis of Herkimer County, New York was born 1796 in NY. He married Hannah Whaley in 1819. They appeared in the 1820 census in Schuyler, Herkimer County, NY. In the 1850 census they were in Fairfield Township, Huron County, Ohio. They both died in Huron County, Ohio, 1880/1881. Children included: Alpheus David (b.1822 NY - d.1916 OH); James (b.1827 NY); Horace (b.1831 NY - d.1890 OH); Rebecah (b.1834 NY); Sarah E. (b.1839 NY - d.1917 OH); Joseph W. (b.1844 OH - d.1829 OH). The father of Abraham may possibly be Joseph Willis (appearing in the 1810 census of Schuyler, Herkimer, NY).  (The Northeastern Group/64317)

Amiel Willis of Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia was born about 1772 in North Carolina, according to a census record of his daughter Peggy. A grandson thought he was born in Scotland. Amiel married Polly Hix in Greenbrier County on February 19, 1799. They had many children .(197455)

Andrew Jackson Willis of Alabama was born in 1815 in the Mississippi Territory and in 1818 moved to Franklin County, Alabama, with his mother Mary (or Maria) and two siblings by covered wagon. His father is unknown at this time. He married Atimissa Sparks and had numerous children. He fought and was wounded at Gaines Mill in the Civil War while serving in the 26th Alabama Regiment. He died in 1880. (65516)

Andrew Willis of Dorchester County, Maryland was born in 1682 and died in 1738. He was married to Janet Jones and lived in Choptank Hundred, Dorchester County, Maryland. Many of Andrew's descendents adopted the surname "Williss." (13266)       

Austin Willis of North Carolina was born about 1820 in North Carolina. He married Edney Cook on December 26, 1846. Austin was a blacksmith for the North Carolina railroad, in "Company Shop," North Carolina. He served as a private in the Civil War in Company K, 47th North Carolina Regiment (Alamance Minutemen). He died about 1880 in North Carolina. His son, John Willis, was born in 1850 and died about 1900 in Nottoway County, Virginia.  (The Southern Group/20880)
Benjamin Willis of North Carolina was born about 1765 in North Carolina. His ancestors are said to have immigrated from England. A known son of Benjamin Willis is Rev. Thomas Willis (husband of Keziah Grindstaff), whose Willis-surname descendants lived in Mitchell County for many generations. (The North Carolina Group/90449)
Britton Willis (1758-1845) (Compiled by Betty Boone and Joy Herron, 5 March 2010) was born in North Carolina and all information which has surfaced, including his Revolutionary War pension application, place his year of birth as 1758. He also tells us, via his pension application, that he moved to South Carolina when young, and at age 17 or 18, while living at Saluda Old Town, he was recruited as a Minute Man to serve "on the frontiers of Georgia." He remained in Georgia for several years after the Revolution before returning to South Carolina where he settled in the Pendleton area. It is not known exactly in which year he moved back to South Carolina, but he was there by the time of the 1790 census. In 1806 he sold his lands in South Carolina  and moved his family  to Muhlenberg Co., Kentucky, where he lived for the remainder of his life. His death occurred April 1845 in Muhlenberg County, and his grave has been located on property which he owned at the time. Britton's wife was Ann, and there are clues which suggest she likely was a Gillespie; however, no proof to support this conclusion has been located. Sadly, Gillespie is stated as fact on many internet sites, yet no one has ever, as far as we know, been able to offer the needed documentation.
Their
eight children  were Winnifred (b ca 1781 GA), James (b ca 1783 GA), Matthew G. (b 20 Sep 1785 GA/SC), Thomas (b ca 1790/1794 SC), Ann G (b 27 Aug 1797 SC) , David Gillespie (ca 1799 SC), Jane (b ca 1801 SC) and Peggy (b ca 1803 SC-d bef 1810 KY).   Winnifred and Peggy left no known descendants.  By the early 1820s the migration of the first generation of Willis descendants is beginning. Jane is the  first child of Britton and Ann to leave Kentucky. She and husband James Wright  arrive  in  Illinois  about 1822. Next to leave Kentucky is Winnifred and her husband Thomas Garrard and members of his family; by 1830 the Garrards are living in Alabama. Thomas Willis and his family settle in Hancock County, Illinois in  February 1832. In 1836 James Willis and his brother David Gillespie Willis are moving their families into the newly opened public lands in Marshall County, Mississippi. And in 1840 Matthew G Willis is moving his family into Johnson County, Arkansas. Ann was Britton and Annís only child who lived to adulthood and did not migrate; Ann and her husband Stephen Wright remained in Muhlenberg County. (The Southern Group/87203, 129808, 155223, 246086)
Christopher Willis was born about 1830 in Ireland, possibly in Dublin. He immigrated to Taylor Creek, Hardin County, Ohio about 1850 where he married Honora Curran, also from Ireland.  (The Ireland Group/110342)
Daniel Campbell Willis was born 29 Jul 1807 in VA, near Wash. D.C. according to family information. His father is believed to be Robert. He had a brother, Robert, and two sisters, Elizabeth (Betsey) and Catherine. In 1814, the family moved to southern KY near the TN border, according to family information. Daniel moved to Greene Co, IL ca 1826, where he m.1) Elizabeth Green 2 Feb 1832. He m.2) Frances Fears, b. 25 Dec 1813, Grainger Co. TN, on 17 Nov 1834 in Greene Co, IL. Their children were Robert, William, Susan, James (all b. Greene Co, IL), Catherine, John, Samuel, Frances, Sarah (all b. Des Moines Co, IA), Luther, and Alfred (both b. Adair Co, MO). Frances (Fears) Willis d. 22 Jul 1863, Adair Co, MO. Daniel m.3) Frances' sister Martha Ann (Fears) Butler, 11 Jul 1869, also in Greene Co, IL. Daniel was a Methodist. He d. 17 Jul 1882 in Adair Co, MO. (The Southern Group/54942)
Daniel Hicks Willis was born in 1775 in Virginia and died in 1859 in Monroe County, Georgia. He married Rachel Irvin on October 26, 1813, in Jasper County, Georgia, daughter of Joseph Irvin and Jean.  Their children were Jesse Wright Willis (born 1821, Ga.), Robert J. Willis (b. May 28, 1819), Susan O. Willis (b. 1817), Martha M. Willis (b. Oct. 22, 1823), and John Daniel Willis (b. Dec. 31, 1824).  (The Southern Group, 294259)
David Willis of Tennessee was born in 1799 in Tennessee. He died in Clinton, Dewitt County, Illinois. He had a son born in Edgar, Illinois on Dec 24, 1829 who married Caroline Bruner.  (The Tennessee Group/37263)
Edward Willis was born in Virginia between 1808 and 1810. He was a blacksmith. He married Sarah Twitty, who was born in South Carolina. They were living in Tennessee in 1840, and in Tippah County, Tishomingo County, and Prentiss County, Mississippi between 1850 and 1880.  Their youngest child was Robert Rowan Willis, who married Rebecca Ann McClung and had a child Edward Eddington Willis, born in Arkansas.  (293884)
Elijah Willis was born in Georgia in 1809, married Elizabeth Daniel in 1834 in Talbot County, Georgia, and about 1836 or 1837 settled in Autauga County, Alabama. Elijah's father was born in North Carolina. Children of Elijah and Elizabeth were William (born in 1835 in Georgia), John, Mary Francis, James Wesley, George, and Joseph P. (The North Carolina Group/99629)
Eugene Willis of Mt. Vernon, Knox County, Ohio, was born in 1847 and died in 1933. His parents are believed to be Seth and Mary Willis of Liberty Township, Knox County. (228106)
Evan Etter Willis of York County, Pennsylvania, moved to Texas Township, DeWitt County, Illinois in 1870. His sons were Harry (died young), John, and William. (244148)
Fair Milton Willis was born in 1821 in South Carolina. He spent most of his life in Laurens County.  He married Laurissa Adams (her other name was Eloise) on Christmas Day, 1842. He was a farmer and a member of Dials Methodist Church near Gray Court SC. He had several sons and daughters. Our project participant is descended from Fair's son James Perry Willis, grandson Fair Milton Willis, and great grandson George Kenneth Willis.  (250198)
Francis Willis Sr. of Gloucester County, Virginia, husband of Sarah Lewis, was said to be born in 1666 in Ware Parish, Oxfordshire, England. He died before October 1692 in Gloucester County, Virginia. Sons of Francis Willis Sr. were (Col.) Francis Willis Jr. (b.abt.1690) and (Col.) Henry Willis (b.abt. 1691). Francis Willis Jr. married Ann Rich in 1715. Their children were Francis III, John, and Mary. John, the ancestor of one of our project participants, married Mildred Smith and lived in Brunswick County, Virginia. Francis Willis Sr.'s other son, Henry Willis, lived in Fredericksburg, Virginia, which at that time was in Spotsylvania County. Project participants descended from Henry include descendants of Byrd Charles Willis (husband of Mary Lewis) and William Champe Willis (husband of Lucy Taliaferro). Both Byrd Charles Willis and William Champe Willis are sons of Lewis Willis, who was a  son of Henry Willis (born about 1696). Published genealogies of these families include A Sketch of the Willis Family of Virginia, by Byrd Charles Willis and Richard Henry Willis (1898) and A Sketch of the Willis Family, Fredericksburg Branch, by Byrd Charles Willis (1909). (Gloucester County, Virginia Group/29851, 76114, and 196495)
George Willis of Berkshire, England married Elizabeth Binfield in Sunningwell, Berkshire, England, in 1708. (The Berkshire, England Group/183189 and 289737)
George Washington Phillips was born in 1806. According to family tradition, he was born in South Carolina. About 1840, he married Mary Jane McCreight in Talladega County, Alabama. During the 1840s, he settled in Cherokee County, Texas, where he died in 1877. (The Westmoreland PA and South Carolina Group/76670)
Henry Willis of Caswell County, North Carolina married Mary Haddock in May 1783 in Caswell County. He died in 1820 in Caswell County. His sons were William, Nicholas, Benjamin, Henry Jr., and Anderson. Anderson was born Dec. 17, 1800 in Caswell County and moved to Habersham County, Georgia, where his sons W. A., John C., and Drury Dobbins were born. (The North Carolina Group/42272 and 127670)
Henry Willis of Long Island, New York was born in 1628 in or near Warminster, Wiltshire, England. After being persecuted because of his Quaker religion, he emigrated to Long Island in 1674. His elder son, William, remained in Long Island. His younger son, John, settled in Pennsylvania.  John founded branches of Willis-surname descendants in Pennsylvania (York County), Virginia (Franklin County), Kentucky (Mercer County), Ohio (Lawrence County), Missouri (Monroe County), and elsewhere. A genealogy, Henry Willis of Long Island, Vol. 1:  1550 - 1800, was published in 2008 by David W. Willis, the administrator of this website(Henry Willis of Long Island/8404, 8430, 10112, 10381, 10862, 27840, 30786, 85974, 141333, 168427, 171536, and 258748)
Henry Willis of Washington County, Virginia settled in the area of Maiden Springs Fort on the Clinch River in Washington County, Virginia. He married Mary Cochran (Coughron). In 1774 he fought in Lord Dunmore's War. About 1799 he may have moved to Pulaski County, Kentucky, where he died about 1820. Children of Henry Willis of Pulaski County are Elizabeth (born about 1780), Henry Jr. (born October 5, 1793, married Sarah Moore, died January 1, 1873 in Grayson County, Kentucky), John, George, Lavina (married William Clark), and Samuel (born about 1800, married Minerva Moore). Another child may be Lewis Willis, who married Rachel Cox and moved to Scott County, Missouri.  (Henry Willis of Washington County, Virginia/67855, 73949, 107970, and 138115)
Henry S. Willis of Scott County, Kentucky was born October 19, 1810 either in Virginia or in Kentucky. On April 7, 1836 he married Jane Parker Robinson. His son Richard Perry Willis was born January 16, 1837, married Keturah Ann Yates in Alabama on January 16, 1860, and had twelve children. Henry's other known children were Mary, Catharine, Henry, Jane, William, Robert, James E., and Nannie. (The Southern Group/136256)

Isaiah Willis of Georgia was born in Virginia in 1764. In 1793 he married Susannah Cooper. He lived on Pistol Creek, in Lincoln County, Georgia, where he bought land on December 24, 1800. He died in 1815, without a will. His widow, Susannah, married Guilford Pullin. Isaiah is said to have had eleven children. Known children are Enos, Martin, Jane, Mary, Isaiah Carter, and Cynthia (Lincoln County Archives, Book K). Probable other children are Robert, Joseph, and Brittony. Isaiah's son Enos Willis married Sarah Jane Pullen in Lincoln County.  Isaiah's son Isaiah Carter Willis (1808-1880) married Eveline Wilkerson (or Wilkinson) 1830 in Wilkes Co. GA. Children of Isaiah Carter Willis were: Susan J. (Jones), George W., Edward W., Carter J., Julia A.S., and William M. Isaiah Carter Willis was a confederate soldier at age 52 in Company I, 46th Regiment, GA Infantry. He and his family moved to Cusseta, Chattahoochee, Georgia after the war (1870).  Isaiah Carter Willis' son William M, was born in 1848 in Wilkes Co., married Margaret Louisa Parkman, and migrated to Oak Fusca, Tallapoosa, Alabama in the same year Isaiah Carter died (1880). He later movied to Comanche, Texas. Children: Charley M., Carra A., William P., Mary L., and Luella M.  (The Maryland and Virginia  Group/201363)

Jack Willis was born in Ketchum, Idaho, about 1901. He was a mining engineer. (113004)
Jacob Willis of Morris County, New Jersey was born about 1770 in New Jersey. His parents may be Aaron and Johanna (Lyon) Willis. Aaron and Johanna were married on November 24, 1768 in Morristown, N.J. Jacob married Phebe (last name unknown). They had the following children: Mary (1797-1872) m. Peter Beaty (Baty); Benjamin (1880-?) m. Mary Eakley; Sally (1802-1883) m. John Sheldon; Johanna (1803-1872) m. Thomas Morgan; Phebe (1806-1882) m. Isaac Morgan; Jacob (1808-?1870) m. Sarah Beatty; Nancy (1809-1877) m. Nicholas Valentine; David (Abt 1810) m. Mary; Aaron (1813-1896) m. 1st Unknown, 2nd Louisa Estler, 3rd Bridget Lynch (no children by Bridget); Isaac (1815-?) m.Sarah Search; and Eliza (1817-1895) m. Ira Little. Jacob died about 1841 in Morris County New Jersey.  (Joseph Willis of Morris Co. NJ/205702)
James Willis of Jackson County, Alabama was born in 1827 in Jackson County, Alabama, and died between 1870 and 1880. He married Margaret Isbell between 1845 and 1847 in Jackson County, Alabama. She was the daughter of James Isbell and Elizabeth Birdwell. Their children were Susannah A., Calvin Ceveire, John Henry, Mary Arezine, Nancy A., James Monroe, William Z., and Anna M. Family Tree DNA has determined that James Willis of Alabama is a direct patrilineal descendant of Niall of the Nine Hostages, who established a dynasty of chieftains that dominated Ireland for six centuries.  (The Alabama Group/126553)
James Willis of North Carolina  was born about 1755 in Cumberland County, Virginia, and died in 1796 in Chatham County, North Carolina. He married Elizabeth Wilson, daughter of Benjamin Wilson, also of Cumberland County. Children mentioned in James' will were Rebecca Caudle, Sally Crow, Suckey Willis (a daughter), Jemima Willis, Wilson Willis, Larkin Willis (born in 1777), Molly Willis, Nannie Willis, Elijah Willis, and Elisha Willis. (The North Carolina Group/118615)
James Willis of Sunderland, England (middle name probably Wattson) was born in 1844 in Sunderland, a city on the northeast coast of England. He came to America and in 1861, during the Civil War, enlisted in the 198th Pennsylvania Volunteers. He was captured in September 1864 and imprisoned in Andersonville prison. After the War, he returned to England, and in 1868, in Stepney (now part of London), he married Charlotte Emily Snowden, who was born in London. She gave birth to their son Albert Edward Willis in 1877. Albert emigrated to Calgary, Canada.  (272878)
James Willis of Tennessee was born in the 1790's in North Carolina. He later moved to Tennessee.  (The Tennessee Group/9461)
James Willis of Wedmore, Somerset, England was born in 1741 in Wedmore, married Lynda Wade on April 11, 1762, in Wedmore, and died in 1812, also in Wedmore. His son James Willis Jr. was born in 1771 in Wedmore, married Hester Bunn in on April 27, 1796, in Wedmore, and died in 1841 in Anaford, Somerset. James Willis Jr.'s son John Willis was born in 1813 in Wedmore. He married Mary Rogers on May 12, 1835, in Wedmore. Their children were Samuel George, Benjamin, Phoebe, Charles, Mary, and Hester. Their son, Samuel George Willis, was born November 23, 1843, in Wedmore, married Mary Willey, who was born in 1855, and died in 1919 in Devonport, New Zealand. Samuel had a son Albert Willis, who was born in 1884 in New Zealand. Albert married first Ellen Sargent Montague, who was born in 1878, and married second Margaret Mary Thompson, who was born in 1921. Albert came to Ontario, Canada to live and raise his family. He died in 1972. Another son of John Willis (b. 1813) and Mary Rogers--Charles Willis--was born February 7, 1841, in Wedmore, married Mary Ann Moses on October 28, 1871, in Emmetsburg, Palo Alto County, Iowa, and died May 9, 1919, in Ruthven, Iowa. (275376)
James H. Willis of Greene County, Tennessee and Grundy County, Missouri married Hila Martha Johnson on September 13, 1847 in Greene County, Tennessee. They moved to Grundy County, Missouri in 1851. (47200)
James Monroe Willis was born March 27, 1819, in Georgia. He married Mahala Wood on November 1838 in Monroe County, Georgia. He died January 13, 1885, in Clay County, Alabama. (Craven County, North Carolina Group/96147 and 283570)
James Washington Willis was born in North Carolina about 1800 and married there Mary Rebecca (last name possibly Carpenter). Their eldest son Daniel was born in North Carolina in 1820. Daughters Lucretia, Avis, and Lucina were born 1822-1826 in Tennessee. Sons John and Moses and daughter Mary (Polly) were born 1828-1832 in Alabama. Rebecca, Sarah, Nancy Jane, and William were born 1835-1842 in Tennessee. James and his wife are buried at the Antioch Freewill Baptist Church (Possum Trot) Cemetery near Burnsville, Tishomingo Co., Mississippi, where they moved about 1840. Their son Daniel is reputed to have been in the "Old Army" (U.S. Army prior to the Civil War) and to have been stationed "out West." Daniel married Elizabeth Freeze and had seven children:  Lucretia, Lucina, Lucy C., Rebecca C., Sarah A.M., James Reynolds, and William M. James Reynolds Willis was born and raised in Mississippi, married Laura Zetty Burcham, and about 1903 folled his in-laws to Upshur Co., Texas. His children were:  William Clifton, Priscilla, Timoth Asbury, Agbert Amacie (Bert), Thomas Earl, Vinnie E., Tessie Lee, Avis Dee, and Damond Clark Willis. William Clifton Willis, born  in  Booneville, Mississippi, married Mary Ollie Pepper, and had Julian Rex, Dalton Garth, Eugene Dale, Gordon Bert, William Cecil (Billy), Shirley Marie, Laura Marilynn (Toley), and Janey Cliftine Willis. (182643)
Jarvis Willis of Maryland and Franklin County, Tennessee was born in 1752 in Maryland. He received a Revolutionary War pension for his service with the Second Continental Line, having enlisted in February 1777 in Maryland. Jarvis Willis' son William was born about 1794 in Stokes County, North Carolina, and died before 1830 in Warren County, Tennessee. He left three children - Harmon, Margaret, and Jane. Jarvis Willis' son John had a son James, who had a son William Marion Willis of Alabama, who was born June 10, 1856 and died June 25, 1910 in Tuscumbia, Alabama. William Marion Willis married first Sara Jane Bradford and second Molly Vest.  (The Maryland and Virginia Group/20484 and 56029)
Jesse Willis of Georgia and Dale County, Alabama was born about 1810 in Georgia. He married Martha (last name unknown) and had two girls and a boy named Iverson Asbury Willis in Georgia before moving to Dale County, Alabama, where he was a farmer listed in the 1840, 1850, and 1860 census. His son Iverson Asbury Willis served in "I" Company, Alabama 33rd Infantry Regiment, in the Civil War and was killed on December 31, 1862 at the battle of Stone River at Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  (Craven County, North Carolina Group/60675)
Jesse Willis of Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Indiana was born May 3, 1761 in York County, Pennsylvania, and was raised in the household of Joseph Hutton and Betty (Willis) Hutton. About June 1783 he married Sarah Copeland, also of York County.  Their children were William, Isaac, John, Jesse, David, Rachel, Mary, and Abner. Jesse Willis was a Quaker who sought to abolish slavery. His early descendants lived in Wayne County, Indiana, and Dallas County, Iowa.  (Jesse Willis Group/31966 and 77992)
Jimmy Wayne Willis Sr. was born possibly in Colorado, probably in the early-to-mid 1930s. He married  Margot Garey, who was born in 1936. They had three children:  Jack Warren Willis, Jimmy Willis Jr., and Jerri Ann Willis. (The Southern Group/277736)
John Willis of Dorchester County, Maryland was born between 1650 and 1660 and died in 1712 in Dorchester County, Maryland. He was the Crier for the Court of Dorchester County. John owned a parcel of land named "Wantage", indicating that he may have originally been from the village of the same name in Berkshire County, England. Known children were John Willis Jr. (born before 1690 and died in 1764 in Caroline County, Maryland), William Willis, Grace Willis, Eliza Willis, and Andrew Willis (born about 1690). A son of John Willis Jr. was Richard Willis, who was born about 1718 and died about 1763 in Caroline County. A son of Richard Willis was Richard Willis Jr., who was born in 1760 and died in 1823 in Caroline County. (The Maryland and Virginia Group/10590, 90447, and N61310)
John Willis of Old Rappahannock, Virginia was born about 1648 in Old Rappahannock, Virginia, and died 1715 in Richmond County, Virginia. His son 2. William Willis was born about 1680 in Old Rappahannock, Virginia, and died 1716 in Richmond County, Virginia. William's son 3. John Willis died 1761-62 in Orange County, Virginia. 4. William Willis was born about 1739 and died May 21, 1833 in Boone County, Kentucky. 5. Edmund Terrill Willis was born in 1766 and died in 1820, and Edmund's brother William Willis Jr. was born October 1781 in Culpeper County, Virginia, and died 1830 in Adair County, Kentucky. (The Maryland and Virginia Group/73893)
John Williston was born about 1703. He died about 1775 in Williston, Carteret County, North Carolina.  He married Mary (last name possibly Martin). His children were Thomas Martin, Ann, Mary, Samuel, Ebenezer, Sarah, Esther, Tamer, Abigail, Daniel, Sabra, and John. Many of his patrilineal descendants changed their last name to Willis. (The Williston/Willis Group/79985 and 165036)

John C. Willis was born August 28, 1834 in Ireland (probably in County Down). He married Margaret Caldwell, who was born May 21, 1830 in Drumballyroney, Drumarkin Township, Barony of Dromore, County Down, Ireland. He immigrated to San Francisco in 1851. He was a Methodist. A son Robert John Willis was born June 11, 1862 in San Francisco, California.  (69640)

John Daniel Willis of Edgefield County, South Carolina was born in 1780 and died before 1840.  He married Margaret Williams, who was born in 1790 and died in 1880.  Their children were Daniel Willis, Edenton
 Willis, Darling Willis, and Sarah Willis Sawyer. His son Daniel Willis 
was born December 15, 1812, in Edgefield, and died May 10, 1893, in South Carolina. Children of Daniel Willis were John Willis, Darling Willis, Solon Horace Willis (died in Georgia), and Sally (died young).  (Westmoreland  PA and South Carolina Group/B5903)
John H. Willis, possibly a son of Isaac Willis (son of Robert B. Willis) was born probably in Maryland. He married Rachel Weekly in Belmont, Ohio, on September 20, 1855. A Civil War veteran, he probably enlisted October 21, 1862, Suffolk, Virginia, and reenlisted February 1, 1864 at Portsmouth, Virginia. He deserted the 4th Artillery, Company D, on May 26, 1865, at the War's end. He had a son Henry Lincoln Willis, who is believed to have been born in Ohio in 1864. (181410)
John Henry Willis was born on June 23, 1851, in Wilmington, Delaware. He died on March 14, 1931, in Middleburg, Pennsylvania. His father was possibly John Willis.
John William Willis of Baltimore, Maryland and Warren County, Ohio married Nancy Hite on Dec. 13, 1798 in Baltimore, Maryland, at the 1st Presbyterian Church. George Willis signed the wedding certificate and James A. Willis was a witness. Their son William H. (Billy) Willis, a minister, was born 27 March 1812 in Warren County, Ohio.  (The Maryland and Virginia Group/50374)
(Rev.) Joseph Willis of Craven County, North Carolina was born in the early 1700s and died in 1784 in Craven County. In his will he named six sons:  Joseph, Thomas, Caleb, Richard, Jesse, and Ephraim.  (Craven County, North Carolina Group/46443, 59200, and 228655)
Joseph Willis of Morris County, New Jersey, born c. 1680 (wife Patience Thompson), was a blacksmith in New Jersey. He had four children, Joseph (II) born around 1721 (wife Abigail), Benjamin, Mary and Anne. Benjamin married Abigail Winans; when she died he married her cousin Anna Winans. Son Joseph (II), in turn, had a son named Joseph (III), born 1759  (wife Grace Winans). Joseph (III) moved from Essex County, New Jersey, to Greene County, Pennsylvania, prior to 1780, to Columbiana County, Ohio, in 1822, and died in Jefferson County, Ohio, in 1843. (Joseph Willis of Morris Co. NJ/95119 and 101870)
Joseph Willis of Patrick County, Virginia married Sally Nowlin on June 4, 1794. Their children were Elizabeth, Greenville, Sarah, Delia, Charlotte, Ruth, John, Patsy, and James. Greenville's line stayed primarily in the Patrick/Floyd area. According to family oral tradition, some of Joseph's and Greenville's sons moved to Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio.  (The Southern Group/51081)
Josiah Q. Williston was born about 1793 in Massachusetts. He was a tailor. He married Elizabeth Farnham, who was born about 1804 in New Hampshire. Josiah lived in Rockingham, Windham County, Vermont. His children were Helen Marie, Lucy A., Harriet E., Mary C., Josiah F., Christopher Lincoln, and Angeline. (The Williston/Willis Group/268264)
Louden Willis was born in February 14, 1783, in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. His father may have been William Willis, who died the year he was born. He moved with his mother to Georgia. On May 27, 1815, he married first Priscilla Thompson in Greene County, Georgia. On September 30, 1819, in Greene County, Louden married second Susan D. Terrell. He died February 19, 1856, in Greene County. (The Southern Group/248674, 270059)
Major Willis of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and Maury County, Tennessee married Mary Jones in Sumner County, Tennessee, in 1807. Major Willis and a William Willis are reported to have migrated from Pittsylvania County, Virginia, to Tennessee about 1800. His children were Ann Willis, Dorcas Willis, and Seaborn Willis. His daughter Ann Willis married William Scott in Maury County, Tennessee. His son Seaborn Willis, who was born about 1809 in North Carolina and died before January 1860 in Maury County, Tennessee, married Elizabeth Southall, daughter of John and Judie Flippen Southall of Williamson County, Tennessee. Seaborn's son, William M. Willis (born about 1833, Maury County, Tennessee) states his father was a son of Major Willis (ref: Moore questionnaire of Wm. M. Willis in state archives, Century Review of Maury County, page 235). Seaborn's other children are Henry, Lola L., Richard T., John, Fanny, Eliza and Susan. (The Southern Group/150854)
Mathew Willis of Yorkshire, England was born in 1799 in  Carperby Cum Thoresby, Yorkshire, England.  He came to the United States and is buried in a family farm cemetery near Mineral Point and Linden, Wisconsin.  His son was Anthony. His father is believed to be John Willis and John's father is believed to be Thomas Willis. (78106)
McKinzie Willis was born about 1799 in Kentucky.  He married Mary Ann Logsdon on May 3, 1820, in Madison County, Kentucky. He later moved to Estill County, Kentucky. He died in 1866. His children were Edward D. Willis, Anna Rice Willis, Susan Willis, Amanda Willis, Merrill Merle Willis, Martha Willis, William A. Willis, Mariam Willis, and Lucinda Willis. (Southwest VA and Kentucky Group/192034, 211916)

Melatiah Willis of Vermont was born in 1767 and died in Vermont in 1823. He married Martha Seaver, who was born in 1767 and died in Vermont in 1813. Both are buried in Corinth Center Cemetery, Orange County, Vermont.  Their children were Lucinda (b.1790 - d.1845 VT), Melatiah Jr. (b.1791 - d.1872 VT), Shubeal (b.1794 - d.1865 VT), and Benjamin (b.1798 VT - d.1891 VT), all buried in Corinth Center Cemetery, and Delia (b. abt. 1800 VT). Both Benjamin and Delia were in the same household in the 1880 census in Corinth VT. Shubeal Willis married Lydia Bagley, of Vermont, in 1822. A son was Jonathan Bagley Willis, who was born September 23, 1825 in Corinth, and moved to Pueblo County, Colorado. (The Northeastern Group/178713)

Peter Willis of Rutherford County, North Carolina and Coffee County, Tennessee was born ca. 1765 and first appears in the 1790 census of Rutherford Co. NC.  Peter married Frances, daughter of Jesse Tate of Rutherford Co.  In 1816 Peter sold 650 acres on the Broad River and moved to Tennessee with his sons Joseph, Anderson F[owler?], David, William Bryson and George, and his sons-in-law Saul Camp (wife Mary) and Jesse Reynolds (wife Frances). Daughter Lucinda married John Russey in 1819. Peter and his family all settled near Hillsboro in Franklin County, which became Coffee Co. TN in 1836. He died in 1840 leaving a deed of gift which names his children.  (The Southern Group/30700)
Richard Willis of Derbyshire, England was baptized on October 26, 1765 in Whitwell, Derbyshire, England, married Sarah Varah on May 24, 1790 in the parish of Braithwell, in south Yorkshire, England, lived in Bramley/Wickersley in Braithwell, and died on October 23, 1814. They had at least four children (Joseph, Mary, Sarah, and William). His brother, Joseph, married Mary Varah (sister of Sarah). Richard's father was probably Joseph Willis, born 1732, who married Elizabeth Starkey, lived in Whitwell, and fathered at least seven children. At one time the Willis family in Wickersley appear to have been quarry owners providing grind stones to the steel industry in Sheffield. (127927)
Richard Willis of North Carolina was born in 1720 and died in 1800 in North Carolina. According to family tradition, he is descended from one of seven "brothers" who immigrated from England in 1647 and settled in New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Virginia. His son Richard Jr. married Catherine Brighan. Richard Jr. lived in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Illinois. (Craven County, North Carolina Group/N4693)
Richard Willis Jr. , husband of Martha, was imported to Middlesex, Virginia in 1699. A son of Richard Willis Jr. was James Willis, who was born February 10, 1716/17 in Virginia and died December 9, 1798, in Craven County, North Carolina. According to a Bible record, James' children were John, William, Francis, Joshua, Joel, Jacob, Joseph, and Isaac. James' son Joel Willis,born  May 4, 1752, husband of Amy, had several children, including William Willis. William had a son William Jasper Willis Jr. (husband of Minerva Stafford), who was born August 11, 1815, and died August 5, 1887, near Barnesville, Upson County, Georgia. A published genealogy of the family, which includes the Bible record, is Two Centuries with a Willis Family and Their Kin, by Douglas M. Willis (Dallas, 1963). (Craven County, North Carolina Group/166383 and 205636)
Robert Willis/Willes of Wiltshire, England (son of Robert) was born in 1702 in the village of Rowde, Wiltshire. He died in 1761 in Southampton, Hampshire, England. A descendant Robert Willis (or Willes) of Hampshire, was born in Hampshire in 1764 and died in London in 1806. (276165)
Robert Willis of Georgia was born ca.1765. He died ca.1812 in Baldwin County, Georgia.  (The Southern Group/294258)
Robert Willis of Indiana was born about 1784 in Virginia according to the 1850 census, Randolph County, Indiana. According to family tradition Robert's family was from North Carolina. Robert married first Mary Blair, widow of Eli McVay, on May 17, 1806 and second Mary Mumpower on February 14, 1816, both  marriages in Grainger County, Tennessee. Robert died in Randolph County, Indiana, in 1857. Robert's sons were Eli (b. January 24, 1815), Benjamin A. (b. 1817), William Henry (b. January 31, 1828), and Thomas S. (b. May 9, 1829) and his daughters are believed to be Louisa J., Frances M., and Sarah. Robert's sons, except for Benjamin, moved to Van Buren County, Michigan, in 1864 or shortly after. (The Southern Group/99549)

Robert Willis of Pennsylvania was, according to family tradition, born in Scotland about 1760, went to Ireland with his family as a youth, then immigrated to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in the Colonies. His first confirmed record in America is his membership in Captain John Allen's Company of Militia, 2nd Battalion of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, on June 15, 1782. He lived in Westmoreland/Fayette County, Pennsylvania, through at least 1800, and died in Belmont County, Ohio, in 1830. He had several children, including William Willis, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1790 and died in Iowa in 1854. (Westmoreland  PA and South Carolina Group/N32250 and 148698)

Roger Willis of Sudbury, Massachusetts married Ruth Hill in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1664.  (32435)

Rush Willis of Hinds County, Mississippi, son of Spencer, was born about 1843. He and his father were slaves on a plantation whose owner was named Smith. (225368)
Solomon Willis was a slave born in 1810 in North Carolina, possibly in New Hanover County. His children included Joshua, Solomon, Fred, Wesley, Julia, Jesse, and Martha. Solomon Willis Jr. married Clara Cutler, and lived in Houston County, Georgia. Solomon Sr's son Fred Willis lived in Houston County in 1870, then moved to Eastman, Arkansas. Solomon Sr's son Wesley Willis lived in Eastman, Arkansas.  (B4183)
 Stephen Willis of New York was born in 1802 in Hoosick Falls, Rensselaer County, New York. (The Northeastern Group/246488)
Stephen Willis of Virginia was born in 1703 in King William County, Virginia. He married Susan Dabney. They had a son, Stephen Willis, born in 1725, who lived in Hanover County, Virginia. Stephen Willis of Hanover County married first Elizabeth Dabney, widow of John Crutchfield. Their son George Willis, who was born 1754 in Hanover County and died 1827 in Wilkes County, Georgia, is the ancestor of on one of the members of the Willis DNA project. Stephen Willis of Hanover County married second Susannah Terrell, widow of Edward Garland. One of their sons, Stephen Dabney Willis, who was born 1760 in Hanover County, is the ancestor of another member of the Willis DNA project.  (The Southern Group/250529, 250704)
Thomas Willis of Carroll County, Georgia was born in 1815 in North Carolina and died in 1880. According to his 1880 census record, both his parents were born in Virginia. (The North Carolina Group/277501) 
Thomas Willis of Hampshire, England was born about 1775. In 1818 he was living in Hartlerow, Hampshire, England.  His son, William, emigrated to Canada with his wife, Elizabeth Snelling, shortly after they were married.  William's son, Benjamin Willis, was born in Nova Scotia, Canada.  (102820)

Thomas Willis of Rowan County, North Carolina was born about 1734, married Ann about 1754 in Rowan County, and died before February 8, 1794 in Rowan County. His children were James, Rachel (b. abt. 1756, m. first Jonathan Wiseman abt. 1774 in Rowan Co.), George (b. 1757, m. Marjorie bef. 1780 in Rowan Co., d. 1834 in Davidson Co., NC), Adam (b. 1760, d. 1850), Thomas Jr. (b. abt. 1765, m. Martha Wiseman abt. 1780 in Rowan Co., d. abt. 1820 in Rowan Co.), and Hannah (b. 1767 in NC, m. Hazel Moreland Sr. Jan. 8, 1785 in Rowan Co.).  (Rowan County, North Carolina Group/145181)

Thomas Willis of Spartanburg, South Carolina was born in Virginia between 1770 and 1780. He married Susan (last name unknown) and moved to the area around Spartanburg in the late 1700s or early 1800s. They had at least four sons, all born in the Spartanburg area:  (1) William Willis, born about 1814, married Frances Stone; (2) Robert Willis, born about 1816, married Sarah Knuckles Stone; relocated to Carroll County, Tennessee in the mid-1800s; children relocated to Missouri and Illinois; (3) Wiley Willis, born about 1818; married Malinda Hamlin; later relocated to the Greenville/Anderson, South Carolina area; and (4) Israel Willis, born about 1822; married Permelia Thompson; died between 1860 and 1870. (146055) 
Thomas Willis/Willats of Berkshire, England was born about 1570 and died in Reading, Berkshire, in 1627. He was a (horse) collar maker by trade. In his will he mentions, among other, sons Moses, and Moses' son Aaron. Moses lived his life as a "Willis," but over the course of Aaron's life, his name evolved into "Willats." Thomas' patrilineal descendants remained in Reading until 1750 when a John Willats married a girl in Wokingham, to the southeast of Reading, where he settled down and raised his family. During the time in Wokingham the name is generally spelled as "Willatts."(The Berkshire, England Group/183189 and 289737)
Thomas N. Willis of Maryland was born in 1810 in Maryland and died in 1852 in Kent County, Maryland.   (Thomas N. Willis of Maryland/46774, 295195)
William Willis of Adair County, Kentucky married Elizabeth Steele. They later moved to Sangamon County, Illinois. (The Maryland and Virginia Group/148947)
William Willis of Alabama was born in 1824. His father was born in Kentucky according to the 1880 census.  William had a brother Andrew Jackson Willis born 1842 in Alabama who served in the Civil War. Family Tree DNA has determined that William Willis of Alabama is a direct patrilineal descendant of Niall of the Nine Hostages, who established a dynasty of chieftains that dominated Ireland for six centuries.  (The Alabama Group/25499)
William Willis of Brunswick County, Virginia was born between 1725 and 1730 in Brunswick County. The name of his brother was Richard, born 1734. William died before April 9, 1792 in Mecklenburg Co., VA. His children were Richard (moved to Spartanburg Co., SC), Sterling (moved to Todd County, KY), Sherod (moved to Jessamine Co., KY), John (also moved to Jessamine Co., KY; see below), Drury (moved to Madison County, KY), Thomas (lived in Lincoln County, TN in 1820), Edward (moved to Garrard County, KY), Sarah, and Nancy Anne. Tradition has William's first wife as Elizabeth Davis and the mother to all of his children. William's son John (b. 1756) had several sons. The first was Richard (b. 4 Sept 1795 Pittsylvania County, VA, d.1863, Sullivan County, IN) Richard had a son named William, born 1838. The second was John Augustine Willis (b. 12 April, 1800, Pittsylvania County, d. 27 Jan 1886, Sullivan County), who had a son named William, born 1839. Another son of John Willis of Jessamine County was James A. Willis, who married Mahala Walters. (The Southern Group/113965, 149433, 153009)

William Willis of Cambridgeshire, England was born in 1674 in Linton, Cambridgeshire, England, and died in Linton in 1716.  He married Sarah (surname unknown), who died 1737. He was the son of a man whose last name was also written Willows and Willowe, first name unknown, whose wife was Hellen, maiden name unknown, who died in 1677 in Linton. One of William's descendants, James Brand Willis, emigrated to Australia in 1852-53.  (N12521)

William Willis of Delaware County, Pennsylvania was born roughly 1763. He was a farmer in Concord Township. He died January 2, 1837, in Ashton Township. He is believed to have married twice. The two children of his first wife were Charles Willis of Kingsessing, in southwestern Philadelphia County (husband of Phebe Robinson), and Mary Willis (wife first of a Mr. Pierce, and second of Septimus Flounders). Children of Charles Willis were Joel Willis, Samuel Willis, William Willis, Thomas Morris Willis, and Edward Robinson Willis. William had three daughters by his second wife, including Elizabeth (wife of a Mr. Campbell), Susannah (wife of a Mr. Brown), and Rebecca (wife of a Mr. Pyle).  (215146)
William Willis of Grainger County, Tennessee and Harrison, Missouri was born July 22, 1813 in Grainger County, Tennessee. He married Mary Ann "Polly" Seymour in Buchanan County, Missouri, on October 6, 1844. They had ten children, all born in Harrison County, Missouri. William died September 14, 1871 in Harrison County, Missouri.  (The Tennessee Group/61051)
William Willis of Ireland was born about 1830 in Mayo or Sligo, Ireland. He married Mary Naughton. He may be the William Willis who lived in the Townland of Ardnacally, parish of Robeen, in County Mayo, Ireland. His son Richard William Willis emigrated to Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1879.  (The Ireland Group/41076)
William Willis of Laurens County, South Carolina was born August 24, 1805, in Laurens County, and died July 9, 1870, also in Laurens County. He married Sara Thomason, who was born October 26, 1811, in Laurens County, and died January 14, 1897, in Laurens County. (282708)
William Willis of Pittsylvania County, Virginia was born in Pittsylvania County and died in Henry County, Kentucky. A branch of the family moved to Missouri about the time it reached statehood, where a Willis cemetery is located in the town of New Hartford, Pike County. A son of William was Joel W. Willis. A son of Joel was John W. Willis. (The Southern Group/177338)
William Willis of Rowan County, North Carolina married Cicily Coats in Rowan County in 1810. His oldest known son was James Wilburn/Wilber Willis (b. Feb. 1812; m. Mary Posey in Coosa Co., AL). Another son was Joseph Yerby Willis (b. about 1819; m. Lettice Ann Williams in Coosa Co., AL). William moved to TN, possibly Lincoln County, with the Coats family, and had at least two children there: Mary M. Willis (b. 1827; m. James William Usrey in Shelby Co., AL) and John Wesley Willis (b. 1830; m. Winifred Williams in Shelby Co., AL). William and Cicily and these four children were in Shelby County, AL, by 1837. (Rowan County, North Carolina Group/123758)
William Willis of North Yorkshire, England was born in 1729. He was  master mariner. He married Dorothy Doughty in 1752 at Lythe, North Yorkshire, a small village about four miles away from Whitby. He died in 1808, and is buried at Whitby. (223315)
William Willess was born in 1787 in New York and died in 1850. (298185)
William Alphus Willis was born in 1849 in Georgia and died in 1920. He lived in Drew County, Arkansas. (N40775)

William Austin Willis was born in 1808 in North Carolina. In 1850 he was living in New Madrid County, Missouri, where he is listed in the 1850 census with wife Sarah (age 39, born in North Carolina), his four oldest children William Cicero Willis, Henry Thomas Willis, Eli Samuel Willis, and Elizabeth A. Willis, all born in Georgia between 1835 and 1843, and  his two youngest children Sarah E. Willis and James Wesley Willis, born in Missouri after 1847. William Austin married second to Lydia A. Arterbury, born 1830 Crittenden Co., KY; died between 1870-1876.  Their children were John Harvey Willis, born 18 July 1860, Laura Willis, and Pamelia (Mely) Willis.  (The Southern Group/84019, 202117)

William Fountain Willis was born about 1812 in Tennessee. His wife was Jane Bryant, who was born about 1813, also in Tennessee. A son of William Fountain Willis was Maston Green Willis, who was born about 1845 in Alabama. (The Southern Group/319387)
William Ira Willis of Iowa was born about 1835 in Iowa and died on August 6, 1907 in Louisville, Clay County, Illinois.  He married Elizabeth Curtis.  Their children were James Levi, Anderson, Laura Jane, Sarah Ellen, Joseph Oliver, and David William (AKA Wilbert). (The Southern Group/48626)
William J. Willis was born about 1805 in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. He married sisters, Judah Collins in South Carolina and Amy Collins in Fayette County, Alabama.  His eldest son, Jabez G., was born in 1830 in South Carolina.  Other children, who were all born in Fayette County, Alabama between 1833 and 1853, were Martha, Sarah, Eady Caroline, Anna, and James Franklin.  William's elder son, Jabez G., had one known son, James, born in Alabama in 1859. William's younger son, James Franklin, had sons, John William, Rufus Braxton, Zedic Hamilton, and Thomas R., born between 1877 and 1881 in Fayette, Alabama. (The Southern Group/176129)
William Sterling Willis was born in April 1829 in Kentucky (according to the 1900 census). Per the 1880 census, he was born in Kentucky about 1828 and his wife, Catherine Hopkins or Hoskins, was born about 1840 in Kentucky. (The Southern Group/153703)

William W. Willis was born about 1812 in New Hampshire. Research indicates that at the time of the Revolution his immediate paternal ancestors lived in Duxbury, MA. His Willis line in America originates in the early 1600s, when five brothers, first John, then Francis, Lawrence, Jonathan, and Nathaniel, settled in Bridgewater, MA,  Plymouth colony. On November 7, 1839, William W. Willis, who was living in Winchester, New Hampshire, married Jane Gale, who was born in Massachusetts. In 1850 William was living in Massachusetts. William was an inventor and maker of agricultural tools, which required him to travel to New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and other states.  William's son, George W. Willis, was born about 1844 in Massachusetts and married Emma Striffler, from French parents who had immigrated to New York. During the Civil War, George signed up in Tompkins County, NY, August 16, 1862, fought with the 137th New York Infantry and was wounded at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863. After the War, George settled in Atchison County, Kansas. He died of a heart attack on March 11, 1874, and is buried in Pardee, Kansas. George's son, Clayton Willis, was raised by his grandfather, William.   (99264)

The number(s) in parentheses at the end of each biography is the Family Tree DNA identification number ("Kit Number") of the person in our project who is descended from that ancestor. This number is also a reference to that member's DNA test results, which are shown in the Test Results page of this website. Members' names are confidential.

 

What is DNA?

A complete copy of your DNA exists in every cell in the body. One strand of DNA, called the Y chromosome, is possessed only by men. It is passed down from father to son, and is virtually unchanged from generation to generation.

 

How a Y-DNA Test Can Help Your Willis Family Research

The Y-DNA test examines the part of your DNA that is possessed only by men and passed down from father to son. The test provides you with the set of DNA numbers that is unique to your particular line of Willis-surname ancestors.

We compare the DNA numbers to those of other Willis participants. If there is a match or near match with another participant, you are very likely to be related. If there is not a match, the results become available for comparison with future participants.

Besides helping with your Willis family research, your Y-DNA numbers can tell you in what part of the world your distant patrilineal ancestors may have lived thousands of years ago.

 

How to Have a DNA Test Done

1. Go to the Family Tree DNA website, click on "Projects," and select "Willis."

2. Fill out the information form and make a discounted group rate payment: $49 for a limited test, more for a more comprehensive test.

3. In a week or so, you will receive a self addressed envelope, along with two small swabs and bottles.

4. Rub the swabs on the inside of your mouth, put them in the bottles, and mail them back in the envelope.  

5. In four to five weeks, you will receive the results.

Your name is kept confidential.

Click here to visit the Family Tree DNA website.   You can join our database at their website by clicking on "Projects" and selecting "Willis."

Click here to email the Project Administrator.