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Welcome to the History of
The Lewis Family


ORIGINS OF THE LEWIS NAME:
The surname Lewis has many origins.  In English, it is a patronymic name, which means it is short for "Lewis' son".  The Old English form is the given name Lowis or Lodowicus, and is comprised of the elements "hlod" (fame) + "wig" (war), or "famed warrior".  The founder of the Frankish dynasty bore this name, and it was popular throughout France during the Middle Ages before being introduced into England by the conquering Normans.  When found amongst the Welsh, it is an Anglicized form of the given name Llywelyn.  In Scotland, it is not normally a patronym or a given name, but a local place name for the Hebridean island of Lewis, or as with the Irish, it is sometimes an Anglicized form of the Gaelic MacLughaidh, meaning "son of Lugaidh".  Lugaidh, or Lugh was a Celtic god whose name translates to "brightness".  Among those of Jewish heritage, Lewis is a patronymic form of Levi, or an Anglicized version of a similar Jewish name.

TANGLED ENGLISH AND AMERICAN ROOTS:
My earliest known Lewis ancestor was John Lewis, often referred to as "the Immigrant".  I know very little about him, except that he emigrated from England and he had at least eight children.  One of the eldest children, Daniel, was born in Westerley, Rhode Island in 1663, which means John was probably  born around 1620 or 1630 in England.  John is both my ninth- and tenth-great-grandfather, as I am descended from him in two ways: through his son, John, Jr., as well as another son, Israel.  The granddaughter of John Lewis, Jr. (Mary Lewis) married her first cousin, once removed (Nathaniel Lewis, Sr.) who was the son of Israel Lewis.

FROM RHODE ISLAND TO MICHIGAN, VIA NEW YORK:
My Lewis ancestors resided in what is now Washington County, Rhode Island for over 160 years, after which my 4th-great-grandfather, George Washington Lewis, Sr. (1800 - 1879) removed to Amboy Township, Oswego County, New York.  George's wife was Sarah M. "Sally" Bassett (1801 - 1873), and her mother Elizabeth Soule was a descendant of Mayflower passenger George Soule.

Of the six known children of George and Sally, two were known to emigrate from New York to Michigan in the 1860's: Phidelia and her brother John W. Lewis (my ancestor).  To this day, many of their descendants reside in the state of Michigan.  Below is a photo of the descendants of John W. Lewis (1839 - 1908) and his second wife Elenor L. "Nellie" Vreeland (1835 - 1912).  This photo was taken around 1923 in Muskegon Heights, Muskegon County, Michigan.

 

To learn more about my Lewis ancestors, click on a name below to read an Ancestory:

Marie Lewis
 (1902 - 1986)

George Emmett Lewis
(1868 - 1964)

John W. Lewis, Sr.
(1839 - 1908)

Looking for some basic information on a Lewis family member not shown here?  Check out my database at WorldConnect!


I would like to thank Al Lewis and John Keehn, my Lewis cousins and fellow researchers, for all their hard work in researching the Lewis family tree, as well as other collateral lines.  Without their generosity, this page would be pretty bare!

Miriam (Robbins) Midkiff
created: 26 May 2003
updated: 24 Sep 2004

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Miriam Midkiff, 2003 - 2006