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The Daily Genealogist Name Origin: Wallace

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Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

(WILLIAM) WALLACE (m): WALLACE derives from Anglo-Norman waleys [many variant spellings] which can mean a person from Wales; a person from the Welsh Marches; or a Scottish or other British person speaking one of the many Celtic languages then available.

The story of Sir William Wallace’s rise against the incursions of the English King Edward I (1239-1307, king from 1272) had great appeal, especially with the Romantic movement, which in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries saw a boom in everything Scottish. The Scottish Chiefs (1810) by Jane Porter (1776–1850) was one of the most popular early historical novels; its treatment of Sir William Wallace is romantic and sentimental, but a rousing read.

A look at the 1850 U.S. census shows approximately sixty men with the first and middle names William Wallace. They include William Wallace Dutton (b. abt. 1830 ) of Chelsea, Vermont; William Wallace McCall (b. abt. 1835) of Saratoga Springs, New York; and William Wallace Harrison (b. abt. 1820) of Paterson, New Jersey. There were likely many other William Wallaces whose full names were not listed in the census.


Posted by Ellie Spinney at 05/22/2012 08:00:00 AM | 


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