The Lewis Family
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
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.
RHODE ISLAND TO MICHIGAN, VIA NEW YORK:
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
To learn more about my Lewis
ancestors, click on a name below to read an Ancestory:
Looking for some basic
information on a Lewis family member not shown here? Check out my database
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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