Australian Wills Families

Possible Spelling Variations & Transcription Errors
for the WILLS Surname


Our obsession with correct spelling is a comparative modern development of the 20th century. Spelling variations should not be discounted when searching for the Wills surname due to lack of education of the original clerks noting the name, transcription errors and the fact that our ancestors were simply not as fussy about how the English language, including their name, was spelt. An
alphabetical listing of possible variations.
 
MILLS
 
WELLS
 
WELLES 

WILCE
 
WILES
 
WILKES
 
WILS
 
WILSE
 
WILSON
 
WILL
 
WILLCE
 
WILLES
 
WILLEYS
 
WILLIA
 
WILLIES
 
WILLIS
 
WILLS
 
WILLSE
 
WILLSON
 
WITTS
 
WYLES
 
WYLLES
 
WYLLS
 
WYLMEAD
 
WYLLYS
 
WYLS
WILLS, WELLS, MILLS, WILES, WILLES, WILL, WILS
The following are more likely to be found in records pre-dating 1800.
Just remember that in genealogy research, nothing is set in concrete.
WELLES, WYLES, WYLS, WYLLS, WYLMEAD, WILSON, WITTS, WILLSON
The following are more likely to have evolved into the modern surname spellings of the names Willis, Willisee and Wilkes.
WILLIS, WILLIA, WILLIES, WILLEYS, WYLLYS
WILLCE, WILCE, WILLSE, WILSE, WYLLES, WILKES

One researcher reports :-
"We had a problem in locating an ancestor's migration to Tasmania and then Raye had the brilliant idea that, because no-one could find anything about Charles WILLS, she would look up Charles WELLS - and Voila! there he was!

A Queensland Experience. I just thought I would share with you the fact that my Great grandmother is recorded in the Queensland BDM as Alice WELLS, and her sister as Frances WELLS. Their parents are William WILLS and Mary COSTELLO.
I have not been able to find William and Mary's marriage record, even though Mary WILLS' death certificate states she was married in Brisbane about 1850. I'll keep searching using variants of the WILLS surname.

From another researcher
While searching for an ancestor who was born in Tasmania they came up with the place name "Port of France". Enquires at the State Library and the State Archives resulted in the comment "We are often asked for this place but we have no idea. If you locate it please advise us".
After much thought they tried saying "Port of France" with a broad english accent and saying it fast and came up with "Port Esperance" (try saying it fast). On checking with an experienced researcher who lived in the Esperance area they confirmed the assumption. Not only can there be spelling errors there can also be transcription errors.

Another experience :-
In Megan Smolenyak's book titled "In Search of Our Ancestors" (ISBN: 1-58062-317-4). Page 116 reads :-
"She remembered a Bible record that she had squirreled away. The record clearly showed that her Catherine Jane was a sister to our missing Susan (not Sarah, as it turned out)! The startling discovery, though, was that the sisters' maiden name was not Cone, but Love.
Now spurred on, we wrote for a photocopy of the original death certificate for our great-grandmother Hannah. Sure enough, on the original is "Love" written in fancy script. Someone mistook it for "Cone" and that is how it was transcribed for the printed record. Armed with this new information, we were finally able to uncover documented proof for several generations simply by looking for Love in all the right places!"
Then on page 210 we read "The records of William N. Jones had been accidentally blended into the file of William H. Jones. In the old handwriting, the middle initials "N" and "H" looked very similar, thus creating the problem that was to take us so long to solve."

And still more variations Added 10 May 2009.
Just happened to come across this site. I have been working on the Wills family history for about 30 years now and have my branch of the family traced back to the year 1057. I was looking at the information on the sight on how to spell Wills and noticed that you were missing a spelling in my family. It is spelled Welles. Maybe you already know this, just wanted to pass on the information.

None of the above should be discounted when searching for the Wills surname.

Editors Note :- Further reading on the spelling of the name Wills plus a good site on the spelling and the origin of the name Wills.

Email Tom Wills if you would like to share a spelling problem in your Wills family research.

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